The spring season is officially here and with the change in weather comes severe storms. Visuals of strong rain, homes destroyed and families gathered in gymnasiums should neither cause panic nor cause residents to be passive. Weather officials state severe spring weather is a cause for education and preparedness.
“What’s important is that severe storms occur every year and people need to be prepared for them regardless of the time of day,” said meteorologist Dave Tucek.
Some believe spring storms are progressively getting worse, yet Tucek states that is false. Data show through the course of the years, storms, severe storms and tornados happen every year.
Severe weather is created when warm air masses from the Gulf of Mexico and cold air masses from Canada, interact. Add a low-pressure system and severe weather is created. The warmer the warm and the colder the cold determines how detrimental a storm can be.
Severe weather is more than hard rain and can include tornados and severe thunderstorms that can produce a tornado, damaging winds of 58 miles per hour or higher or various sizes of hail. Types of severe weather can also be seen in flash flooding, which can create an immediate threat to life or property, as well as high wind of 40 miles per hour or wind gusts of 58 miles per hour.
As the nation’s No. 1 weather killer, when flood warnings or flash flood warnings are in effect, individuals are strongly advised not to drive through water flowing over roads.
In addition to various types of severe weather, Chris Wright, chief meteorologist, WTHR-13 says residents should also be cautious of lightening.
“Lightening can strike you from a thunderstorm as far as 10 miles away. Lightening is more likely to strike a man than a woman,” said Wright. “It’s also more likely to strike young people than the elderly.”
Central Indiana averages 20 tornados per year. Furthermore, storms are lower to the ground.
When residents are under a watch for severe weather, Tucek suggests they “watch for a warning.” A weather watch will occur when conditions are favorable for severe weather. A warning means either someone has sighted damaging weather or radar indicates damaging weather will occur.
“When warnings are issued, that’s when they need to take safe action,” said Tucek.
Severe weather does not have to be frightening or difficult. The key is to have a plan. Many schools, homes, and businesses have severe weather strategies but those who do not are urged to prepare as soon as possible.
To help citizens, the American Red Cross asks people to be “Red Cross Ready” and follow three simple steps to protect individuals during severe weather.
Schools, homes and businesses should have an emergency preparedness kit. Items should include water, food, a radio, flashlight and other items.
A plan should be made next. No matter where a person is, one should know exactly what to do and where to meet in case of an emergency.
Lastly people should become informed. In extreme cases, it could take up to three days before emergency help reaches severe weather victims. Becoming trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques are just one example of when people can go above and beyond a basic severe weather plan.
For more information, call the American Red Cross at (317) 684-1441, or visit www.indyredcross.org or www.weather.gov/ind.