Severe Weather Preparedness: know when and what to do

SOUTH BEND, IN -  Two tornado drills were conducted today across Michiana as a test to prepare everyone for when severe weather strikes.  The winter may have put your severe weather senses at ease, but are you and your family prepared for the spring and summer months ahead?  If not, now is the time to put a plan into place.  Indiana Governor Mike Pence in conjunction with the National Weather Service proclaimed this week as Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

Why prepare now?  Well here's a look at tornado statistics by month from 1980-2010 in Fig. 1.  Even though the most tornadoes per month occur in June and July, our spring months (March, April, May) are when the frequency of tornadoes begins to climb.  

Not only do you and your family have to be more aware during the spring and summer months, it also makes it easier to know what time during the day tornadoes are most likely to strike.  Take a look at Fig. 2.  Tornadoes are the most frequent during the late afternoon and early evening hours.  However, the most dangerous time for a tornado to strike is after sunset and through the overnight hours when people are most likely to be sleeping and unaware of the changing weather.  Even though there are tornado sirens placed throughout Michiana, they are intended to alert all the people outdoors to seek shelter.  That is why it is important to have other ways to get your weather warnings like a NOAA Weather Radio, or weather apps that send you weather alerts to your phone including the ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather App, especially in those nighttime hours.

When you think of severe weather, you may only think of tornadoes, but did you know that tornadoes are not the number one deadliest weather related phenomenon in Michiana?  Take a look at Fig. 3.  From 1980-2014, more deaths have been related to straight line winds in a thunderstorm than for a tornado.  This is why it is important to always be weather aware for when any type of severe weather strikes.  The ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather Team is always here for you and your family on the air and online.  Follow us on twitter, @abc57weather , Facebook, and get your daily forecasts here.      

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