March 21, 2014

THEIR VIEW: Don't ignore preparedness week


---- — Any Hoosier who isn’t inclined to pay much attention to this week’s observance of Indiana Severe Weather Preparedness Week might think differently when reminded of the devastation caused by a few weather events in the state’s history.

As a way of helping Hoosiers remember how dangerous the weather can be, the Severe Weather Preparedness Week proclamation signed by Gov. Mike Pence references some of the state’s most deadly tornadoes and also points to flooding hazards.

The governor’s proclamation calls attention to this year as the 40th anniversary of the April 3, 1974 Super Outbreak of tornadoes, which is referred in the proclamation as “still the largest tornado outbreak in the United States.” The third largest tornado outbreak recorded in Indiana was a recent one, having occurred on Nov. 17, 2013. In addition, a record 72 tornadoes occurred in Indiana in 2011, including 32 on April 19, and 26 on May 25, with those days alone exceeding the annual average of 21 tornadoes for Indiana.

The worst tornadoes often occur at night, such as the 2005 deadly tornado in Evansville; that reality points to the importance of Hoosiers having the ability to receive warnings 24 hours a day. The governor’s proclamation, in calling attention to the dangers of flooding, referenced record Indiana flooding that occurred in January, June and September 2008.

All of these events illustrate to Hoosiers that weather claims lives and property, and taking precautions before and during storms can minimize the risks. As part of this week’s observance, a test of the Emergency Alert System will sound on Thursday, both in the morning and evening on commercial radio, television networks and all-hazards radios. Families, schools and businesses would be taking responsible action to recognize the drill as an excellent opportunity to practice their weather safety action plans. It’s a fitting time for Hoosiers to remind themselves of such realities as how critical it is to find safe shelter as a tornado approaches or that one should never drive on a flooded roadway because, even if the water appears shallow, the road could have washed out under the surface. Resolve to keep a family disaster kit well stocked.

Keep in mind that deliberate and careful planning can save lives during severe weather.

— Times-Mail, Bedford

THE ISSUE Indiana Severe Weather Preparedness Week. THEIR VIEW Deliberate and careful planning can save lives during severe weather.