Severe Weather Preparedness
Severe Weather Preparedness

VAN WERT – With most attention being drawn to the exploding virus outbreak, National Weather Service forecasters put out a special statement on their site reminding residents that this is “officially” “Severe Storms Preparedness Week.”

Weather officials have canceled all spotter classes around the area due to the projected size of classes.

Weather officials noted that in 2019, 32 tornadoes were recorded in the state of Indiana.

“Tornadoes are violent, rotating cylinders that can have wind speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour winds, be more than a mile wide and cover approximately 50 miles during destruction,” states the document.

“As one of the most common natural disaster risks that the local area faces, it is imperative that local residents be prepared before one hits,” continues the statement.

The violent tornado that ripped into Van Wert County in November of 2002 neared that type of violence with winds near 280 miles per hour and damage that stretched from near Wren into southern Paulding County. Across the border in Indiana, the devastating Palm Sunday tornado of 1965 stayed on the ground from west of Marion, Ind. into northwest Ohio, destroying cattle, farm buildings and injuring many along the way.

Important terms to know during natural disasters such as tornadoes include tornado watch (conditions for a tornado is favorable), tornado warning (a tornado is reported on the weather radar indicating that one could develop soon).

The National Weather Service note states that the best protection is being prepared. Make sure preparedness kits are portable for easy transport if evacuation is necessary. Preparedness kits should be tailored to household needs.

Understand the risk of tornadoes in local areas and recognize the warning signals that indicate a tornado could be forming. Tornadoes could occur at any time and often happen in the night.

“Conduct household tornado drills at various times during the day, so everyone is prepared for all eventualities,” states the information. “Identify safe places to shelter. For optimal protection, choose basements, inner rooms and storm cellars away from doors, windows and outer walls.”

Review and practice severe weather plans created by employers. If applicable, understand severe weather plans of local schools. Purchase and configure an all-hazard weather radio and have more than one way to get information.

Also become familiar with spring storms such as severe thunderstorm watch and severe thunderstorm warning.