Author: PIO Todd Harmeson

Severe Weather Preparedness Week


This has been a great week for us in the Emergency Management office as we have been able to focus on preparedness with our followers. Preparedness is the key to surviving any storm or disaster event. Here is a recap of our week:

Sunday – Severe Weather Preparedness Kick off
Monday – Before the storm, now is the time to prepare
Tuesday – How will you receive your severe weather alerts?
Wednesday – Knowing the difference between a watch or a warning
Thursday – During the storm, safety tips
Friday – After the storm, how do you survive during recovery
Saturday – Recap of the week

We also hosted a Severe Weather Spotters course, which was free to the community, at Anderson University. Guest speakers from the National Weather Service – Indianapolis educated us on different weather patterns and things to be watching for when severe weather is threatening in our community. Our severe weather spotter training is an annual event, so if you missed this year’s event, please remember to mark your calendar for 2020.

We also tested our Alert and Notification system on Tuesday in conjunction with the NWS – Indianapolis and Indiana Department of Homeland Security Emergency Alert System (EAS) test. During our test, we activated Nixle to provide advance warning to our followers as well as activated our severe weather spotters which are part of EMA’s Amateur Radio Organization (RACES- Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services).

What to do After the Storm

After the storm passes and you have survived the storm, you still have to be alert for other dangers that can cause injury or even death if not handled properly. Depending on the severity of the damage and the population affected, emergency responders will likely be stretched thin and response times will be impacted. After a major storm, we educate the public that emergency response could be 24-72 hours before help arrives. This is why it is so important to have a disaster supply kit for you and your family to survive. We also encourage the public to learn first aid and CPR, contact your local fire department or the American Red Cross for more information.

Here are some important tips to remember After the storm:

 If injured, seek necessary medical care.
 Help others who may be trapped or injured, if it can be done safely.
 Stay out of damaged buildings and any building surrounded by flood water.
 Avoid entering ANY building (home, business, etc.) until local officials indicate it is safe.
 Report broken utility lines to the appropriate authorities.
 Wear sturdy shoes and use extreme caution when entering buildings.
 Use battery powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings.
 Watch for loose plaster, drywall and ceilings that could fall.
 Look for fire hazards and beware of possible water, gas or oil leaks.
 Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into buildings with the
floodwaters.

After Returning Home:
 Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
 Throw away food that has come into contact with floodwater.
 Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage.
 Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible.
 Contact the local health department before
making repairs to septic systems.

Be sure to follow Madison County EMA on all of our Social Media outlets for information after the storm.

During the Storm Tips

So far this week we have talked about preparedness tips, ways to receive the watch and warning, the differences of a watch versus warning and now we need to talk about what to do during severe weather. Your actions during a storm could save your life or the life of someone dear to you.

 Postpone or cancel outdoor activities and monitor weather reports on radio, television websites and social media.
 For lightning, shelter inside a building or hardtop vehicle, but do not touch the metal inside.
 Do NOT go near isolated tall trees or any other tall objects, or near downed power lines.
 Do NOT stop at underpasses. Wind speeds increase and can cause serious injuries.
 If tornados are expected while in a vehicle, get out and take shelter in a strong building if possible.
 During tornado warnings, mobile home residents need to evacuate immediately. Shelter in a
building with a strong foundation.
 If caught out in the middle of a body of water, return to shore as soon as possible.
 Basements, inner rooms and storm cellars provide the best protection during a thunderstorm or
tornado. Stay in the center of the room, away from doors and windows.

If you need to evacuate due to the storm, here are some evacuation tips to remember.

 If flooding is possible, evacuate the house and get to higher ground. Know the area and make sure to know alternate escape routes in case one is blocked.
 Take pets, however, shelters may NOT allow pets inside due to sanitary conditions, so plan
accordingly.
 Do NOT try to drive through water. As little as a few inches of moving water can wash most cars
away with the current.
 Do NOT try to cross moving water on foot. As little as a few inches can knock adults off their feet.

During the storm, these are helpful tips which should help everyone stay safe and “weather the storm”

Watch or Warning?

We can teach our followers about being prepared, how to receive severe weather alerts, however if you do not understand the difference between a Watch and Warning, it does us no good to warn you.

Watch – A watch is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrological event may occur in the next 8 hours. A watch means weather conditions MAY deteriorate and develop into severe weather.

Warning – A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property.

A WATCH means to be alert for the possibility of changing weather and changing conditions. Be sure you have a means to receive warnings in the event weather conditions deteriorate. During a WATCH time period is a good time to review where you will shelter if necessary and check your disaster supply kit.

A WARNING means severe weather has been spotted in your area and you should take appropriate protective actions immediately. Once a warning is issued, you may have only minutes to take action, immediately stop what you are doing and seek shelter.

The NWS has a website dedicated to the definition of the severe weather types which they provide watches and warnings. NWS Watches and WARNINGS

How do you receive your severe weather alerts?

All Hazard Alert Radio

Continuing our series this week on Severe Weather Preparedness, today we will look at methods to receive severe weather alerts.

During times of severe weather, advanced warning is the key to saving lives. We recommend everyone has at least two methods to receive severe weather alerts at all times. This means you should have two methods to receive while you are at work, and at home. Remember that when you are sleeping, you may not hear your cellular phone device or it may be on night night mode to allow you to sleep.

The National Weather Service maintains a system for activating All Hazard Alert Radios which activate whenever severe weather, man-made or technological disaster is occurring in your area. Technology has advanced to the point, you only receive these alerts in your area when they are impacting your location. In other words, if a storm has already passed you or is moving in a direction which does not threat you, the alert will not be activated. The All Hazard Alert radios are great for notifications at night when you and your family are asleep. Here is a link to the NWS page for information on All Hazard Receivers. National Weather Radios


A second method to receive weather alerts and other emergency notifications on your email, text or by dial phone is Madison County’s Nixle Alert and Notification System. This is a FREE service for our citizens to sign up to receive. We only use this system when severe weather or an emergency threatens Madison County, IN. The staff from Madison County EMA controls this system and is never used for political, business advertising nor other NON-emergency related information. Signing up for this system is simple and easy. There are two methods to sign up:

1. If you only want to sign up to receive text (SMS) notifications, you can text the word MADISONCOEMA to 888-777 and sign up.

2. You can go to Nixle.com and create an account which then allows you to sign up to receive email, text or telephone messaging.

This system is fully funded by the Madison County Council thru local tax dollars. Alert and Notification systems such as Nixle are much more cost effective than purchasing outdoor sirens which only cover a small geographical area and each siren system can cost $50,000 per unit.

Receive community information instantly! Sign up at Nixle.com today! It’s quick, easy and secure.

Another system for receiving weather alerts is to sign up with the National Weather Service and receive severe weather warnings direct from NWS. Here is a link to help you enroll for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) from NWS. Wireless Emergency Alerts . Also most of the Television stations in central Indiana also have notification systems on their website as well for their users.

Important Tips for Severe Weather Preparedness

Before the storm, it is always good to take preparedness actions around your home or business. By taking some simple preventive actions now, you can lessen the impact or damage caused by severe weather. Now is the time to tackle these preparedness tips, BEFORE the threat of storms is imminent. Tom Ecker, Executive Director for Madison County Emergency Management & Department of Homeland Security says “To many times we hear that citizens were not prepared for the storm and it cost them their home, their cars, or worse, their family. It is our job as Emergency Managers to help educate and keep our citizens informed and through our Outreach and Public Information Division we are trying to make a difference.”

Here are some very important Preparedness Tips to follow Before the Storm:

 Keep trees trimmed to prevent limbs from falling onto buildings,
cars or people.
 Contact insurance provider to purchase flood insurance.
 Be aware of flood plains or areas that repetitively flood in the area.
 If in a flood plain, put hot water heaters, electrical panels and
furnaces away from the ground.
 Have basements waterproofed.
 If flooding is possible, try to create a barrier between homes and the water.
 In case of evacuation, make sure that preparedness kits are portable.
 Build a disaster preparedness kit for your family . Disaster Kit – Build it 1 item a week for 52 weeks
 Have a plan at home, work and at school where to shelter in place during a tornado warning. Additional Tornado Shelter Tips

For more information on Severe Weather Preparedness tips, be sure to follow us on social media, and check our website regularly.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week Kick-off

This week kicks of Indiana’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week and we want to ensure our followers are prepared at home, work and at school. This week, we will focus on preparedness tips, notification tips, severe weather education, and how to recover after a storm. Every day this week, EMA will post on our website, facebook, twitter and instagram, helpful tips to protect you and your family when severe weather strikes.

Severe weather that includes tornadoes, lightning, flooding, storms, etc., is prevalent during the spring and summer in Indiana. Thunderstorms can produce large hail, flash floods, heavy rain, lightning and strong winds. They can also produce tornadoes which can have wind speeds in excess of 300 mph, be more than a mile wide and cover approximately 50 miles while destroying property. Thunderstorms, flash floods and tornadoes can all appear suddenly with little warning, and may only last a few minutes, but have the strength and power to cause a great amount of damage.

Monday – Preparedness Tips
Tuesday – Ways to receive severe weather watches and warnings
Wednesday – Severe Weather Watch or Warning
Thursday – During the Storm Tips
Friday – After the Storm
Saturday – Recap and Be Prepared

Potential Severe Weather Outbreak Tomorrow (Thursday 3/14/2019)

Severe Weather Possible Thursday

The potential for severe storms tomorrow (Thursday) is appearing more probable for Madison County and surrounding areas. The threat includes the potential for high winds, hail, and a tornado is not out of the question. Some convective thunderstorms are likely as well as high winds with significant gusts (40-50+) due to the strong lower level Jet that is part of this system. Several factors will likely bring more clarity to the possibility in the morning. The Madison County EMA Warning Division will continue to monitor and will issue an update tomorrow morning as the system approaches.

In advance of possible severe weather tomorrow, now is the time to prepare at home, work and school.

1. Make sure everyone knows the plan for severe weather and where they should seek shelter if necessary.
2. Make sure you have at least two methods to receive severe weather alerts.

All Hazard Alert Radio

A) Text MADISONCOEMA to 888-777 to sign up for EMA’s FREE notification system
B) Purchase an All Hazard Weather Alert Radio and receive your alert from NWS
C) Sign up to receive alerts from any of the TV News Services
D) Watch TV News
E) Follow us on our Social Media Pages

High Wind Weather Event Situational Board

Power Outage Summary Grid

Power Line Safety PSA Video
6:00 PM Update

The NWS has extended the Wind Warning until 10 PM tonight.  Even after the High Wind Warning expires, winds are expected to gust more than 30MPH until 5AM Monday.  After dark, motorists should exercise caution when driving due to down trees, utility poles and power lines.

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5:00 PM Update

EMA is currently on their 16th call of the day. Our volunteers are approaching 11:00 hours and still going.
Utility companies in Madison County are reporting about 600 customers without power.

Winds have tapered off some, gusts are still 40-50MPH with sustained winds 25-35MPH.

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12:45 Update

Gusty winds continue and will remain 20-30 MPH sustain with gusts 40-50 MPH the remainder of today. EMA has had 11 calls today to assist with poles, utility lines or trees down blocking roads. Motorists should use caution when driving in central Indiana due to the road hazards.

Approximately 1130 Madison County residents without power at this time. If your power is out, do NOT assume the utility company is aware of the outage. Report your power outage to your power company as soon as possible.

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7:30 AM Update

Currently there are 830 customers without power in Madison County. Power Outage Summary Grid
EMA has had 6 call outs this morning, with 5 of them being directly related to the wind.

Winds are 20-30 MPH with gusts to 45MPH.

Terre Haute, IN recorded a gust of 63 MPH as this front passed thru at approximately 5:30 AM.

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4:00AM Update

Temperature is 54F and it has been steadily increasing all night. That will stop as the front approaches and temps will be falling most of the day into the low 30’s hovering just above freezing.

Winds will be increasing and by 7:30 sustained winds should be near 35 MPH with gusts around 55 MPH.

As you venture out Sunday, use caution when driving. We anticipate tree limbs and in some cases full trees to come down in these winds. If you see tree limbs and trees down, be alert for power lines to be down on or near roads. If you see utility lines down on or near a road, do not get out of your vehicle, stay in your car and report this to 911.

Power lines down in a private yard or business, report this to your local utility company. (See utility outage numbers below).

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Tonight is the time to prepare for the High Wind Weather event on Sunday. By the time we all wake up on Sunday, we will be into the event.

Here are some important steps:

1. Charge your cellular phones overnight
2. Have batteries for flashlights
3. Have bottles of water.
4. Make sure to have food that does not require heating and cooking
5. Prepare extra blankets to keep warm in the event of a power outage
6. Fuel your vehicles now in advance of the storm.

Citizens should be prepared for power outages as a result of the strong winds. Wind gusts of 50-60 MPH combined with the saturated ground could lead to trees, and utility poles falling down causing power outages.

To report power outages:
Anderson Power and Light Outages – (765) 648-6484
Duke Energy Outages – (800) 343-3525
AEP Outage – Report an AEP Outage
Ninestar Energy Outage – (317) 326-3131 Opt 9

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A High Wind WARNING has been issued for Madison County.

225 PM UPDATE: areas along & north of Interstate 70 have been UPGRADED to a High Wind Warning beginning at 4 am Sunday & continuing all day. Peak wind gusts of 55 to 60 mph will be possible. South of I-70, a Wind Advisory will go into effect at 4 AM Sunday. #INwx #indy

IDHS encourages Hoosiers to get involved with Radiation Awareness Week

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages Hoosiers to take the time to learn more about the effects of radiation and its safety implications as part of Radiation Awareness Week.

“Most people are unaware of the fact that there is radiation all around us,” said Kaci Studer, radiation programs director for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) program. “It occurs naturally in our environment, industries, hospitals and even our own homes.”

According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), people receive most of their average annual radiation from natural sources in the environment, while approximately 48 percent comes from medical procedures.

Aside from learning about the different sources and types of radiation, Radiation Awareness Week is also an excellent time to become familiar with radiological emergency preparedness.

“Many Hoosiers living in the northwestern counties of Indiana are in the ingestion pathway zone of a nuclear power plant,” Studer said. “That’s why IDHS is always actively maintaining radiological emergency preparedness.”

The ingestion pathway zone is the 50-mile radius around a nuclear power plant where the general public may be at risk of ingesting contaminated food and water during the events of a radiological incident created by the power plant. Indiana is considered part of the emergency preparedness zones for four commercial nuclear power plants, two in Michigan and two in Illinois.

“Although it’s highly unlikely a radiological incident will occur from one of these four power plants, it’s still something the State of Indiana needs to prepare for,” Studer said.

For more information on the REP program at IDHS, visit https://www.in.gov/dhs/3523.htm.

To learn more about the different types of radiation and the impacts it has on human health, visit https://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/.

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