Severe Weather

According to the National Weather Service, Indiana currently averages around 7 tornado days per year (days during which a tornado was recorded). Here in Bartholomew County, there have been 17 confirmed tornadoes from 1950-2016. The most severe was an F4 tornado in April of 1974 that caused $25 million in damage, which is equal to $129 million today in 2018! While technology has advanced and severe weather predictions have improved, tornadoes can still be highly unpredictable and dangerous.

Historically the months of April, May, and June have most tornadoes in Indiana and here in Bartholomew County, but tornadoes can occur any time of the year. In 1967 there was a tornado in December, and more recently in 2005 there was a tornado in November that caused $100,000 worth of damage in the town of Hope.

When the sirens activate, it is too late to start forming an emergency plan for you and your family. Make your plan NOW so that you don't waste precious minutes that could mean the difference between life and death.

tornado warning

Tornado Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when a tornado is predicted in our area, or if a funnel cloud has been spotted by a trained weather spotter. The tornado sirens will sound. That is your cue to TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.

  • Get to a sturdy interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Bathrooms are best.
  • If in a business, locate a marked weather shelter or ask an employee.
  • If in a mobile home, go to a designated shelter if possible.
  • If in a vehicle, don't try to outrun the tornado. Seek shelter immediately. Do not crawl under the vehicle.
  • Protect your head and neck.

Tornado Watch

Tornado Watches are issued by the National Weather Service when there is an increased risk for tornadoes due to the current weather conditions.

When a Tornado Watch has been issued, prepare for the possibility of high winds or a tornado.

  • Identify the room or shelter that you will take cover in if a Tornado Warning is issued.
  • Stay tuned to your local radio or television station for updates.
  • Keep an eye to the sky. Most tornadoes come from the southwest, but they can come from any direction. Report any funnel cloud sightings to local law enforcement.
  • Secure any loose objects outdoors if it is safe to do so.

Monthly Test

The tornado sirens are tested on the first Friday of every month at noon (12:00 PM).

Test dates for 2018:

  • January 5
  • February 2
  • March 2
  • April 6
  • May 4 (Happy Star Wars Day!)
  • June 1
  • July 6
  • August 3
  • September 7
  • October 5
  • November 2
  • December 7

Do not call 9-1-1 to ask why the tornado sirens have been activated, as that will tie up the phone lines. Tune to local radio or television stations for weather-related information. If you have an actual emergency, call 9-1-1.

Tornado statistics gathered from the National Weather Service: