Prepping for Severe Storms


Published 03/19 2014 08:30PM

Updated 03/20 2014 08:46AM

This long, brutal winter is about to end.

And with the first day of spring coming Thursday, warmer air is moving into the region, and with that comes severe thunderstorms and tornados.

This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week across Indiana.

WFFT spoke with planning experts.

In a weather emergency, there are many ways they try to reach you- like through weather radios, alerts, or through those loud sirens you hear.

The National Weather Service and local emergency crews are doing that on Thursday, testing out some of those systems.

As this snow melts and the skies turn grey, it means spring and warmer weather is finally here.

And that means storms are coming.

Indiana has already had three tornadoes so far this year.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service, Homeland Security, and local law enforcement and emergency crews are testing the entire alert system.

"But the design of that is so that we will send that out and be able to test all portions of the communication flow if and when an actual tornado warning were issued,” says Warning Coordination Meteorologist Michael Lewis of the National Weather Service.

Twice on Thursday- once at 10:15 in the morning- and another at 7:30 at night- Allen County's 54 tornado sirens will erupt.

"We just upgraded all the existing sirens this past fall, it's got to do with radio signals and how they work, to make sure they last another five, ten, fifteen years with the current technology,” says Allen County Department of Homeland Security Director Bernie Beier.

Beier says those sirens are only for people outside.

He says cell phones will get alerts from apps, the Wireless Emergency Alert System, and text message alerts from us here at WFFT- but it's vital that people purchase a weather radio.

"But those weather radios stay on, if they're programmed right, and plugged in, and they have battery backup if the power goes off. So they go off twenty-four hours a day. So not just when you're at home watching the news,” Beier says.

And you can sign up for those Text Alerts.

Click on the Weather tab, and then Text Alerts.

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