Kokomo Rebuilds and Preps for More Severe Weather

Published 03/04 2014 05:06PM

Updated 03/05 2014 08:36AM


Dozens of tornadoes ripped through the Midwest last November causing deaths and extensive damage. One of the worst areas was Kokomo Indiana. To help people prepare for more dangerous elements, FEMA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is hosting National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

Residents of Kokomo are still picking up the pieces from last seasons severe weather.

"We knew a storm was coming but we didn’t know a tornado was coming," said Cheryl Moore is one of many people who weren’t properly prepared for severe weather before it struck. She and her husband were sitting outside when it touched down right in front of them.

"This big wind came through and it was bending our front tree. My husband said to get in the house," said Moore.

What Cheryl witnessed was one of two EF-2 tornadoes that ripped through the city of Kokomo leaving behind a path of destruction worth about $800,000 in unbudgeted city costs.

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is created to raise awareness of ways to prepare for situations like this.

"You can’t say that you're ever completely prepared, I think we handled it well," said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. He says the city used multiple resources to alert residents of the danger ahead. Moving forward, he plans to introduce even more safety tools. He says all the current systems they had in place, contributed to the reason serious injuries were not reported.

"Nothing life threatening so when you look at it from that aspect we were somewhat prepared," said Goodnight.

Development Specialist David Tharp for the city agrees they had all the right tools in place.

"Folks knew that it was coming, they watched the forecast, staying on top of the weather, listened to the weather radio and looked at social media."

But these are all things Moore forgot to do when she underestimated the storm coming. To better prepare, the city currently sells weather radios at a discounted price, they're very active on social media and they’ve recently invested in a reverse 9-1-1 system so residents be alerted on landlines and cell phones.

"I’m prepared now, I know what to expect this time. I know what to look for," said Moore.

Tornado season starts in March and activity could start as soon as temperatures begin to warm up.

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