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Safety tips for tornado season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- While Michiana is still being hit with extreme winter weather, the National Weather Service says March marks the start of tornado season.  The St. Joseph County Emergency Management Agency teamed with the National Weather Service to prepare residents to be trained extreme weather spotters.

High winds, very dark skies, and a lot of cloud movement - the National Weather Service says these plus a drastic change in temperature are signs that a tornado may be on the way.

Bill Zimmerman, Director of Emergency Management for St. Joseph County says, "It's always good to pay attention. As soon as we know something's going on we blast the sirens, we tell everyone to turn on their radios, televisions, and computers."

While South Bend has not experienced a major tornado in about twenty years, Zimmernan says it's always good to be prepared.

"That extreme weather before, after, and during, in conjunction with those tornadoes does severe damage to the community as well."

The National Weather Service gave storm advice to an audience of storm chasers and people interested in becoming storm spotters.

"Before we start the severe weather season, I like to make sure I'm up to date on everything so that I can accurately report what I am seeing out there," explained storm chaser Kimberly Howell.

"When I get my first alert on my phone, I shoot it to my friends on Facebook and that way everyone knows what's happening around here," said storm spotter Barb Deroo.

Experts say as soon as you hear those sirens, take cover immediately, because it may be just moments before a tornado hits. 

They say, ideally you want to get down in a basement, but if you do not have one, lay down in your bathtub with a mattress or comforter on top of you.

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