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March 25, 2013

Now is the time to prepare for tornado season

There’s a statewide tornado drill in the works for Wednesday. That should serve as a reminder that now is the time to come up with a plan for what your family will do in the event of a real weather emergency.

The first thing you should do in putting together your plan is to assemble blankets, pillows, food, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries so that you’ll be able to stay informed of changing weather conditions.

Your plan should include where you’ll go when a warning is issued. The best place is in one of the innermost rooms of your home, away from windows and doors. If you have no interior rooms in your home, climb in a bathtub and cover your head with pillows or blankets.

If you’re caught outside, a car is not a good place to be in a tornado. If possible, get inside a well-constructed building, but if that’s not possible, find a low-lying area and get on the ground with your legs folded in front of you, your elbows on your legs and your hands clasped over your head.

Tornadoes are violent, rotating cylinders of air that can reach speeds of more than 300 mph. They can be a mile wide and leave a path of destruction 50 miles long.

Tornadoes can appear suddenly with little warning, so minutes, or even seconds, can mean the difference between life and death. A tornado can move several miles in a matter of minutes, so the time to move to your safe place is as soon as you hear the warning.

Anyone with any doubt about the destruction a tornado can bring need look no farther than southern Indiana, where tornadoes on March 2, 2012, literally wiped out whole communities and claimed 13 lives.

The folks in Henryville can tell you that tornadoes are nothing to mess around with.

Wednesday’s tests will be only a drill. The next time warnings are sent, the danger will likely be real.

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