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Severe Weather

2021 Severe Weather Preparedness Week ProclamationSevere Weather Preparedness Banner

Dashboard excerpt with charts, map and numbers
Tornadoes in Indiana Dashboard
Dashboard excerpt with charts, map and numbers
Tornadoes in Indiana Dashboard

Each year, IDHS collaborates with the National Weather Service (NWS) during Severe Weather Preparedness Week (March 14-20, 2021) to remind and educate Hoosiers about seasonal severe weather threats and how to effectively prepare for them.

This year, Hoosiers can expect more active spring severe weather due to the climate conditions caused by the La Niña winter.

“Severe weather statistics show that coming out of a La Niña winter often leads to more active severe weather spring patterns,” said Jason Puma, senior meteorologist with the NWS Indianapolis. “This means there is a higher chance of Indiana experiencing tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding.”

Identifying multiple methods to receive severe weather warnings, discussing severe weather safety plans with loved ones and creating a disaster kit are all things individuals can do to prepare for severe weather conditions.

  • Make a Disaster Kit
    Do You Have a Kit? text with supplies
    Do You Have a Kit? text with supplies

    In severe emergencies, it can take up to three days for assistance to arrive. Disaster kits should be able to support the household during that time. Consider some of the following as part of the household disaster kit:

    10 Items to Make a Basic Disaster Kit
    • Food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person, per day)
    • Battery-operated all-hazards radio (receives more than 60 types of emergency alerts)
    • Flashlight
    • Extra batteries for radio and flashlight, if needed
    • First aid kit
    • Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets and personal hygiene items
    • List of emergency phone numbers
    • Important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance and banking information)
    • Cash (small bills, because power outages can limit ability to use ATMs and credit cards)
    • Special items (baby formula, insulin, life-sustaining medication and pet supplies)

    For more items to include in kits, visit the Disaster Kit page.

Visit the Get Prepared webpages previewed below for a complete list of safety tips for all of Indiana’s springtime severe weather:

Severe Weather Safety Tips

  • Flooding
    Rural area fields and houses flooding

    A few simple steps can help protect an entire household in the event of a flooding emergency.

    • Be aware of any nearby floodplains – flat areas of land near a body of water that is prone to flooding.
    • Do not try to drive through water. As little as 2 feet can cause most cars to float, and as little as a few inches of moving water can wash away most cars. Turn around; don't drown!
    • Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage.

    More flood safety tips

  • Tornadoes
    tornado in fields

    Tornadoes are devastating forces of nature that can occur during every season of the year. Thankfully, this weather phenomena can be tracked by meteorologists, so being prepared is possible.

    • Tornadoes can occur at any time and often happen at night. Conduct household tornado drills at various times during the day so everyone is prepared for all possibilities.
    • Move to a safe location and cover the head and neck with your arms. Blankets, pillows and furniture can provide additional protection.
    • Reserve phone calls for emergencies. Phone lines may be damaged and have limited capacity.

    More tornado safety tips

  • Thunderstorms
    Spider lightning

    According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, an average of 100,000 thunderstorms occur each year in the United States. The following tips will help the entire household be prepared for severe thunderstorms.

    • Check weather forecasts daily, purchase an all-hazards weather radio and have multiple ways to receive weather alerts.
    • If a thunderstorm is expected, postpone or cancel outdoor activities and monitor weather reports on radio, television, websites and social media.
    • Look for fire hazards and beware of possible water, gas or oil leaks. Report broken utility lines to the appropriate authorities.

    More thunderstorm safety tips

For more information about Indiana’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week, visit the NWS Indianapolis Forecast Office website.

Preparedness Resources

Storms, floods and tornadoes are common occurrences to Hoosiers. Knowing how to stay prepared for these types of situations will not only minimize their effects, but also save lives. For National Preparedness Month in September, IDHS emphasized the importance of creating a family emergency communications plan, assembling a disaster kit and identifying the different types of disasters that can happen locally. View the tips, download infographics and more