Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

March 5, 2014

Take city up on its offer


Kokomo Tribune

---- — It was about 2 a.m. when the tornado touched down in Henderson County, Ky., Nov. 6, 2005.

The twister crossed the Ohio River and churned into a mobile-home community near Evansville, picking up some of the trailers and pitching them into a nearby pond.

Twenty-five people died that night, and more than 200 others were injured.

The National Weather Service had issued warnings for the area some 30 minutes before the tornado struck Vanderburgh County, but people were asleep. They didn’t hear the sirens. They weren’t aware of the danger.

The following year, the state Legislature mandated every new manufactured or mobile home sold in Indiana be equipped with a weather radio. And it’s why the state Department of Homeland Security has supplied weather radios to county emergency management agencies for distribution in trailer parks and areas of low income these past few years.

If Hoosiers learned anything from the Evansville tornado of nine years ago — and Kokomo residents know all too well after this past Nov. 17 — it’s that such storms can touch down at any time in any month.

And if you live within Kokomo’s city limits — particularly you folks in the newly annexed areas — you can pick one up at the City Hall welcome center for just $9. All you need to bring with you is one of the following: a valid driver’s license, a state ID card or a utility bill from the past 90 days.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radios, like the model the city is offering Kokomo residents at a $29 discount, pick up broadcasts from the National Weather Service. Such broadcasts provide official storm warnings and watches, as well as general weather information, 24 hours a day.

Purchase one and locate it near your bed. An alarm will awaken you and advise you to take shelter if you’re in the path of a severe storm or flood.

Weather radios arguably are more reliable than tornado sirens — a horn’s blast could be difficult to hear when your windows are closed and your air conditioning is running. And they’re a necessity for those who live in a mobile home.

Some 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes, and the fatality rate for their residents during a tornado is more than 10 times that of permanent structures.

Storms, floods and tornadoes can strike any month of the year. If you’re a city resident, purchase a weather radio at City Hall, 100 S. Union St.

And if you live in the county, please consider one.