There was severe weather across the midwest today, and many locations were placed under a tornado warning but what do you do when that happens?

Tornadoes Are Not Uncommon

Tornadoes are not an uncommon occurrence, particularly here in Indiana. According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security,

More than 1,400 tornadoes have been verified in Indiana since 1950, causing more than 5,000 injuries and 300 fatalities. In 2021, 20 tornadoes were recorded in the state, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Tornadoes are violent, rotating cylinders that can have wind speeds in excess of 300 mph, be more than a mile wide and cover approximately 50 miles during destruction. Because tornadoes are one of the more common natural-disaster risks the state faces, it is imperative Hoosiers are prepared before one occurs.

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How to Prepare for Severe Weather

A tornado warning can sometimes happen with very little warning, but there are precautions you can take to stay safe. Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is have an emergency weather plan. According to the American Red Cross,

  • Assembling an emergency preparedness kit.
  • Creating a household evacuation plan that includes your pets.
  • Staying informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
  • Ensuring each family member knows how to get back in touch if you are separated during an emergency.
Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

What to Do When the Sirens Go Off

When the sirens go off, it's time to implement that plan we talked about earlier. This means getting you, your family, and your pets to a safe space to take shelter. According to, these are some things you should do when a tornado warning is issued.

  • Go to NOAA Weather Radio and your local news or official social media accounts for updated emergency information.
  • Follow the instructions of state, local and tribal officials.
  • Go to a safe shelter immediately, such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or a small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.

Don't Forget an Emergency Kit

Part of being prepared includes making an emergency kit to hold your basic needs for an emergency situation. Aside from the basics like flashlights, candles, and a weather radio, the CDC advises that you also include the following items in your emergency kit:

...emergency supplies that can be used after a tornado.

...first aid kit and emergency supply kits for the home and automobile

...emergency water and food. ...enough supplies to last at least 3 days.

Create a pet disaster preparedness kit... include items such as veterinary records; registration information; a 2-week supply of water, food, and medications; a leash; and a pet carrier.

Mother nature can be unpredictable, so it is always best to be prepared.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...


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