Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 26, 2013

Editorial - Feb. 26, 2013: Prepare for storms

The issue: National Severe Storm Preparedness Week March 3-9.

Our view: Ensure your family knows what to do if a tornado touches down.

Next week is National Severe Storm Preparedness Week, and the observance four years ago was particularly memorable. Just ask some folks in Peru.

Fifty mph winds howled through Heather’s Haven Mobile Park off U.S. 31 March 8, 2009. The roof of a nearby cinderblock warehouse was blown off and thrown onto small mobile homes.

Fortunately, everyone walked away from the scare without even a scrape.

Though the National Weather Service believed straight-line winds destroyed the mobile home park four years ago, it confirmed three tornado touchdowns on the same day.

Tornadoes are violent, rotating cylinders of air that can reach speeds in excess of 300 mph, be more than a mile wide, and cover up to 50 miles, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security says. They can touch down with little warning.

Homeland Security offers this advice if a tornado strikes in our community:

• Basements, inner rooms of a house, and storm cellars provide the best protection.

• Stay way from exterior walls, windows and doors. Stay in the center of the room.

• If you are in your car, do not try and outrun the tornado. It can switch direction and cover a lot of ground quickly. Get out of the vehicle and go into a strong building if possible. If not, lie flat in a ditch or low area and cover your head.

• Do not go under overpasses. Wind speeds actually increase under them and suck you out.

• If you live in a mobile home, get out immediately. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.

After the tornado passes:

• Stay out of damaged buildings.

• Help others who are trapped or injured.

• Listen to radio or TV to find out emergency information and instructions.

The Kokomo area has a long and deadly history of tornadoes. Ensure your family knows what to do if one touches down.