Spring in Indiana means several things. It means the end to a dreary winter, the beginning of flowers blooming and green grass. Spring in Indiana also means tornado season. Indiana continues to rank among the top five states in the nation in the number of tornadoes, tornado deaths and tornado damage costs. The keys to protecting yourself are preparation and awareness. You can be prepared by knowing what to do and where to go should severe weather strike.
Tornadoes frequently occur in the months of March through September between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. but they can strike at any time. Weather is most often hot and humid with southerly winds and threatening, menacing sky. Before a tornado, thunderstorm clouds often have a greenish-black color and appear to be topsy-turvy, bulging down instead of up. A tornado may be observed as a funnel-shaped cloud spinning rapidly and extending toward the earth from the base of the thundercloud. Tornadoes usually move from a westerly-southwesterly direction at speeds of 25 or more miles per hour. Destruction resulting from tornadoes is caused by violent winds, which uproot trees and destroy buildings, and by flying debris. Further destruction is caused by the great and sudden change in air pressure that can cause buildings to collapse.
- A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for the development of a tornado. Keep tuned to local radio stations for the latest information.
- A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted in the area. Immediately seek inside shelter below ground level.
A Tornado Warning provides information on the expected path and time period the tornado is to move through the area. Persons in this area should immediately take necessary safety precautions.
When the National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning for the Earlham area, outdoor sirens will sound and warning will be transmitted through local media sources. Earlham's Emergency Notification System will also automatically issue an alert via text, phone and email. Everyone should keep in mind that sirens are not designed to be heard indoors, therefore it is important to monitor weather sources when a storm approaches.
If Inside: Go immediately to a room with little to no glass or an interior hallway of the building. Avoid windows and large open spaces or areas with wide, free-span roofs such as the dining hall, wellness center, and greenhouse. Do not use elevators. Do not go to your car.
If Outside: If unable to take shelter indoors, lie flat in a ditch or depression. Avoid large trees, metal poles and other electrical conductors. Protect your head and lie flat.
If possible, keep a portable battery powered radio with you. Do not leave your shelter until an "all clear" announcement has been issued or the storm threat is past.
If you have questions about tornado procedures, please call Public Safety at 765-983-1400 or extension 1400.