Officials urge Hoosiers to get ‘Severe Weather Ready’

Twenty-two tornadoes ripped through the Midwest on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2017. Pictured is an image of severe weather rolling through Illinois.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Tornado season is fast approaching, and officials are telling everyone the time to prepare is now.

Severe Weather Preparedness week is officially underway. Public safety officials say you do not want to be scrambling for supplies as a storm is hitting and they’re urging everyone to get things ready this week, so you’re prepared when severe weather strikes.

A year and a half ago, Jill Matteson took shelter in a bathtub insider her Kokomo home, huddled there with her toddler, as tornadoes ripped across the area.

“So I just grabbed a hold of him, and prayed the tornado wouldn’t come across our house,” said Matteson.

Jill and her husband were lucky as their house suffering only minimal damage. But tornadoes tore apart much of the city. She remembers that August day like it just happened.

“You could tell there was a pressure change,” said Matteson, “and it just came through that quick.”

Now, she and her husband have a second little boy and a plan of action if severe weather hits again.

“Just have things prepared so you can grab something quick,” said Matteson.

Officials are asking everyone to get those things ready, as part of national Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

“A lot of people, I think, have the attitude that it’s never going to happen to them,” said Hamilton County EMA Director Shane Booker, “it could happen to anyone.”

Booker says everyone needs to have the basics: bottled water for three days, a weather radio, flashlights and a First-Aid Kit.

“Make a plan,” said Booker, “make sure they rehearse that plan and talk with their family about it.”

On Tuesday, sirens blared as part of Indiana’s statewide tornado drill. However, Booker says tornadoes aren’t the only dangers Hoosiers could face.

“Severe thunderstorms can be just as damaging with downdraft winds or straight-line wind damage or damaging hail,” said Booker.

If you’d like more information on how to prepare for severe weather, check out the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s website.