Severe Weather Can Strike Anytime, Expert Says

March 19, 2014
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An EF-1 tornado struck Osgood on February 20. (Image: Ripley County EMA)

An EF-1 tornado struck Osgood on February 20. (Image: Ripley County EMA)

Spring is almost here, and with it will come severe weather events that could turn into dangerous situations for folks across the Midwest.

This is Indiana Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and Dave Tucek, warning-coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said residents should keep an eye on the forecast this time of year – but also be aware that severe weather can strike at any time.

“We have had tornadoes in every month of the year,” Tucek said. “We’ve had severe storms in every month of the year, although our prime times are April through June – and a secondary peak occurring in the November time frame, like we saw Nov. 17 of last year.”

Tucek said the biggest concerns in severe-weather situations are usually thunderstorms, which can produce very strong winds or tornadoes, lightning – the nation’s No. 2 weather killer – and very heavy rain, which can lead to flash flooding.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service will conduct a statewide test of communication systems in Indiana – one at 10:15 a.m. and the other at 7:30 p.m.

“The one that takes place in the morning, we try to capture the kids in school so they get a chance to practice what they are supposed to do at school,” Tucek said. “And then we hold the next drill during the early evening to try to get the children to practice the plan at home with their family.”

It’s important to be ready to act and go to a safe spot when warnings or watches are issued, Tucek said. Hoosiers now can even stay informed through wireless emergency alerts on a smartphone.

“If you are in a location that’s under a tornado warning,” he said, “your smartphone will alert you with a very loud, very distinguishable audible alarm, as well as a unique vibration or shake.”

A “watch” means conditions are favorable for a thunderstorm, flood or tornado, and a “warning” means one of those events is occurring or likely to occur soon. At that point, Tucek advised tuning in to weather information on local television or radio.

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week was March 2-8

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