Editorial: Take time to prepare for severe weather


Homes and businesses lie in ruin after a tornado cut through Whiteland on March 31, 2023.

(Franklin) Daily Journal file photo

At 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, emergency sirens around Indiana sounded as part of a pre-planned statewide tornado drill marking Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

This was a loud-and-clear reminder that we are entering the peak season for severe weather. Now is the time for residents, businesses and organizations to prepare, review their emergency plans, and take precautions to ensure their safety for the storms that we Hoosiers know will come.

People in Indiana and our region understand that devastating storms can descend with little notice at this time of year. In about two weeks, our state will mark the one-year anniversary of an outbreak of storms that left trails of death and destruction across Indiana.

Last March 31, EF3 tornados with winds as strong as 155 mph broke out in Indiana and neighboring states. Those storms killed five people in Owen and Sullivan counties. Closer to home, a tornado ripped a path of destruction through Whiteland and surrounding areas. Fortunately, there was no loss of life resulting from that Johnson County tornado that destroyed or severely damaged warehouse structures, homes and businesses while packing winds of 140 mph.

Planning and preparation will help you and your loved ones stay safe. Weather radios or cellphone apps that alert you to warnings of severe weather in real time are potential life savers.

Likewise, you should plan to have an emergency kit with at least three gallons of water for each member of the household, three days’ worth of nonperishable food and a first-aid kit.

These are basic tips, but many more ways to prepare yourself and your family for severe weather can be found at in.gov/dhs/get-prepared. Here you can also find tips and best practices to prepare for flooding and other emergency situations that arrive in Indiana along with daffodils and the first tender blooms of spring.

In proclaiming the week of March 10-16 to be Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana, Gov. Eric Holcomb noted that since 1950, more than 1,400 tornadoes have been recorded in the Hoosier State, killing more than 300 people and injuring more than 5,000.

Additionally, in the past 30 years, there have been 12 disaster declarations in the state due to flooding. And in just one year, 2022, Indiana experienced 76 flooding and heavy rain events.

We know from sometimes painful experience that the spring season in Indiana carries not just the potential for severe weather, but almost certain storms.

The wisest thing Hoosiers can do is to take the advice of first responders during Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Use this time to plan and prepare. Know where you will go for safety when severe weather threatens. Make sure everyone in your home or place of business knows the drill.

Doing these things will help ensure that you and those you love will be able to weather any storm.