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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

Flood Watch Issued – BE ALERT

A Series of weather systems are expected to bring rain to Central Indiana through Thursday Night. One to three inches of rain will be possible…with locally high amounts. This will likely result in river and stream flooding…as well as flooding in some fields and roads. Areas along and south of I-70 appear to have the best chances higher amounts of rain at this time. The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a

* Flood Watch for portions of central Indiana, east central Indiana, south central Indiana, southeast Indiana, southwest Indiana, and west central Indiana, including the following areas, in central Indiana, Bartholomew, Decatur, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Rush, and Shelby. In east central Indiana, Delaware, Henry, and Randolph. In south central Indiana, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, and Monroe. In southeast Indiana, Jennings. In southwest Indiana, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Martin, and Sullivan. In west central Indiana, Clay, Owen, Putnam, and Vigo.

* From Wednesday evening through late Thursday night

* One to Three inches of rain are expected through Friday morning.

* River Flooding will be likely. Standing water in fields and along some area roads will be possible. This may result in driving difficulties or even possible road closures.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DECATUR … BROWN … RANDOLPH … HENDRICKS … DAVIESS … OWEN … HANCOCK … GREENE … SHELBY … JENNINGS … MADISON … KNOX … DELAWARE … MORGAN … JACKSON … MARTIN … PUTNAM … BARTHOLOMEW … MARION … CLAY … VIGO … HENRY … JOHNSON … SULLIVAN … HAMILTON … MONROE … RUSH … LAWRENCE

Instructions:
A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop. Should a warning be issued…be prepared to turn around and don’t drown. Never drive your vehicle into floodwaters.

Winter Storm 1/19/2019 and 1/20/19 Blog

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1/20/19 4:00 PM

Madison County has lowered the travel status to a Travel ADVISORY.

All county main roads and secondary roads have been cleared in the rural unincorporated areas of Madison County. All neighborhoods have been plowed except for 20 they are working on now. Intersections and bridges have been salted and sanded.
Main roads are mostly clear, secondary have some packed snow and can be hazardous especially tonight when snow that has melted re-freezes, however they are all passable with some caution.

Wind Chill Advisory has been issued for Madison County tonight thru 12:00 PM Monday.

* WHAT…Very cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as low as 20 below zero expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, east central, north central and west central Indiana.

* WHEN…From 6 PM this evening to noon EST Monday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Instructions:
A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

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An orange level Travel Watch has been issued for unincorporated roads in Madison County, effective Saturday evening until further notice. A Travel Watch means that conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. During a “watch” local travel advisory, only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations. Unincorporated roads are those roads maintained by Madison County, usually roads outside cities and towns.

Strong winds will cause additional traffic hazards. Use extra caution when traveling and if possible stay off the roads so street crews can clear snow from the pavement. Businesses, Churches and other organizations should implement emergency action plans while the county is under a Travel Watch.

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1/19/19 12:00 PM

The rain has continued much longer than forecasters anticipated this morning across Madison County north of I-70. Currently trees, power lines, and untreated surfaces are coated with ice throughout all of Madison County. The temperature ranges from 31F in the south to 28F in northern Madison County. We anticipate the rain to change over to all snow by 3:00PM today. The forecast for snow has dropped to 3-5″ for Madison County BUT we have picked up more icing than originally anticipated . The rain is expected to freeze on road surfaces once the snow changes over creating very slick conditions going into tonight.

Madison County is under a TRAVEL ADVISORY for all rural unincorporated roads in the county. We encourage citizens to limit travel and stay home if you do not need to be on the road.

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1/18/2019 4:00 PM Update
* WHAT…Heavy mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches and ice accumulations of a light glaze expected. Locally higher amounts of snow are possible Winds gusting as high as 40 mph. (Some forecasts are still calling for 8-10″ possibly as much as 14″ of snow in isolated areas).

* WHERE…Portions of central, east central, north central and west central Indiana.

* WHEN…From 4 AM Saturday to 4 AM EST Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DELAWARE … BOONE … RANDOLPH … TIPTON … CARROLL … TIPPECANOE … CLINTON … HAMILTON … HOWARD … MONTGOMERY … MADISON … WARREN … FOUNTAIN

Instructions:
A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible. The latest road conditions for Indiana can be obtained by calling 1 800 2 6 1 7 6 2 3

Here are some important WINTER WEATHER LINKS to other agencies and information
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1/18/19 8:00 AM Update

24 hours out from the onset of the winter storm, there is still considerable uncertainty in the amount of snow for the area.

Here is what we are certain about:

-Wind speeds of 18-20 mph with gusts into the low to mid 30’s Saturday and Saturday night before settling to 8-10 mph on Sunday.

-Freezing rain may appear at onset for a while but appears not to be a problem for Madison County.

-The precipitation should begin early Saturday and be over by the early hours Sunday. (Winter Storm Watch expires at 4:00 AM)

-Low temperatures Sunday and Monday morning seem to be moderated some but there is not total agreement. It’s fair to say that both Sunday and Monday morning will be near single digits if not reaching zero. (Windchills will likely push our temps below zero)

The uncertainty involves the snowfall amounts for the County. The NWS has just released a 5” prediction for Madison County, which follows one of the models pretty close. Other models that were pretty accurate last week have 7-9” and one run this morning is showing 12+”.

It seems certain that Madison County will have a significant weather event tomorrow and that preparation is important. The amount of snow that will complicate the situation is still in flux. Warning will update later today should any clearer picture evolve. Indications this morning are that significant icing should not occur.

No is the time citizens should be preparing for this winter weather event. Preparations should include:

– Making sure you have adequate supply of food and water
– Fuel up your vehicle
– Charge portable battery powered devices
– Check flashlights
– Make sure you have adequate medicine
– Bring pets indoors
– Find your shovel and have it ready for after the storm
– Make sure you have jumper cables, blankets, and other cold weather gear in your car.

Be Prepared!

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1/17/19 3:00PM
Winter storm watch in effect from late friday night through late saturday night

What: heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches and ice accumulations of a light glaze possible. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.

Where: portions of central, east central, north central and west central indiana.
When from late friday night through late saturday night.

Additional details travel could be very difficult. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.
Instructions

A winter storm watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

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1/17/2019 UPDATE 8:00 AM

The following summarizes our best estimates of what Madison County can expect as this winter storm pushes through:

-8” of snow that is likely to begin by noon on Saturday with the heavy snow ending by late Saturday night to early Sunday morning.

-a strip of freezing rain is likely just to our S which could lessen snow amounts should the track move further N. The ice potential appears to be a tenth or so on the margin of the snow band.

-Steady winds of 20 mph with gusts into the low 30’s is likely from Saturday morning through the early hours Sunday with calmer 9-10 mph winds by daybreak Sunday.

-Temperatures in the upper 20’s during the day Saturday with falling temperatures Saturday night to about 9 F by Sunday daybreak with a high on Sunday of 14 F and a low Monday morning of about -4 F below zero. The good news is that temps should warm to the mid 30’s Tuesday afternoon.

Right now it appears that 12+” of snow is likely to our NE across OH.

Considering the snow amounts that are possible along with the winds, drifting snow is likely in the county making travel very difficult with whiteout conditions possible at times Saturday. Warning will continue to monitor and expect to issue an update Friday morning.

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Advisory: Winter Weather Advisory until 10:00AM Thursday

* WHAT…Mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of up to one inch and ice accumulations of a light glaze expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, east central, north central and west central Indiana.

* WHEN…From 4 AM to 10 AM EST Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DELAWARE … BOONE … MORGAN … VERMILLION … DECATUR … PUTNAM … MARION … RANDOLPH … HENDRICKS … TIPTON … CARROLL … TIPPECANOE … HANCOCK … CLINTON … HENRY … JOHNSON … SHELBY … HAMILTON … HOWARD … MONTGOMERY … PARKE … WARREN … MADISON … RUSH … FOUNTAIN

Instructions:

A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Expect slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. The latest road conditions for Indiana can be obtained by calling 1 800 2 6 1 7 6 2 3

Winter Weather Information

A significant winter storm this weekend with heavy snow is possible across the midwest including Madison County. In addition to significant winter storm, winds are expected to gust 30-40 MPH while temperatures drop into single digits. It is early in the week, forecasters are still watching the track of the storm which could shift north or south impacting snow and ice totals. At this time, we do believe accumulating snow will arrive mid to late Saturday into Sunday. Now is the time to prepare your vehicle and home for the POSSIBILITY of a major winter storm.

We will keep this page active for winter storm updates this week. We encourage you to bookmark this link for your winter weather authority – Todd PIO

Winter Weather Information