Severe Weather Preparedness Week can help reduce injuries and deaths

E-mail from Indiana Republican State Senators:

Severe Weather Preparedness Week Can Help Reduce Injuries, Deaths
It’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana.

(March 14, 2011) – Some may take severe weather information for granted. The goal of Severe Weather Preparedness Week is to better educate and remind people about the hazards of thunderstorms and tornadoes, and to help everyone be prepared if and when severe weather occurs.

Gov. Mitch Daniels recently signed a proclamation, declaring the importance of planning and preparing for severe weather to help minimize the number of injuries and deaths.

Severe weather is prevalent during the spring and summer months. Thunderstorms can produce large hail, flash floods, heavy rain, lightning, strong winds and tornadoes. Tornadoes can reach a speed of 70 mph, be more than a mile wide and cover about 50 miles during destruction. Indiana averages 21 tornadoes and four fatalities each year.

Conditions can appear suddenly with little warning and may only last a few minutes, but have the ability to cause a great amount of damage for years to come.

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. About 100 Americans are killed each year by floodwaters.

Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) officials remind us that a “watch” means conditions are favorable for a thunderstorm, flood or tornado and a “warning” means these conditions are occurring.

Hoosiers should be aware of what to do before, during and after severe weather strikes, according to IDHS.


Preparing for a Possible Storm

[list type=”black”]
[li]Keep trees trimmed to avoid limbs falling onto buildings, cars or people;[/li]
[li]If hail or strong winds are reported, park your vehicle under a shelter to avoid damage;[/li]
[li]If in a flood plain, make certain water heaters, electrical panels and furnaces are elevated from the ground; and Contact your insurance provider if you live in a flood plain. Many companies do not include flood damage unless you ask.[/li]


Weathering the Storm When it Hits

[list type=”black”]
[li]Do not go near trees, other tall objects or downed power lines;[/li]
[li]Basements, inner rooms and storm cellars provide the best protection during a thunderstorm or tornado. Stay in the center of the room, away from glass doors and windows;[/li]
[li]If in a vehicle, get out and go into a strong building if possible. If not, lie in a flat ditch or low area and cover your head. Be aware of low lying areas that may flood; and[/li]
[li]Do not go under overpasses. Wind speeds increase and can cause serious injuries.[/li]


Recovering from Storm Damage

[list type=”black”]
[li]Stay out of buildings that are damaged or surrounded by flood waters. Do not drive through water;[/li]
[li]Report broken utility lines to area authorities;[/li]
[li]Look for fire hazards and beware of possible water, gas or oil leaks; and[/li]
[li]Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents for insurance claims.[/li]

One way to receive severe weather watches and warnings is with a tone alert weather radio. A weather radio will give you severe weather information direct from your local National Weather Service office. Watches and warnings are preceded by a tone alert that can automatically activate your radio and get your attention with a high pitched alarm – even if storms hit in the middle of the night.

For more information on severe weather, please visit the IDHS website at

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