If a Tornado is Around, Get Low to the Ground
The wind is howling, now what? Growing up in South Florida, I have gone through at least one hurricane every single year. After years of hunkering down in the laundry room- considering that was the room in my house without windows- I thought I was prepared for any kind of wind or storm coming my way… Well not so much, because hurricanes are one thing but when a student moves to Indiana, they have to take on the big, bad tornado. When I think of a tornado, the Wizard of Oz movie always comes to mind with horses and houses being blown away. Luckily, it’s not typically like that in real life.
There are five different tornado categories, depending on the wind speed. On average, there are about 22 tornadoes that happen every year in Indiana. This sounds like a lot, however, most of the tornadoes are extremely slow-moving and are harmless. Tornado season in Indiana is typically from spring into early summer time.
IU likes to stay extremely cautious and have students prepared in case of emergencies so every first Friday IU has tornado alarms going off for practice at 12 pm and 7 pm so that students know exactly what to do in case of emergency. When the practice alarms go off, students are not required to do anything, it is just for awareness.
Here is some important information to remember:
Tornado season officially begins in spring into early summer. Typically there is also the second season in Fall.
Indiana gets big wind and snowy weather, be it a bad hail or thunderstorm, tornado or polar vortex, and having certain supplies, is recommended. That would include a flashlight and batteries, perhaps a weather radio, bottled water, and some non-perishable foods to get through a minimum of three days. If a student has a vehicle that operates on gasoline, they should keep it filled up. Waiting for the day before a potential snowstorm is due to hit is not advisable as the lines are very long and some gas stations run out of fuel. Students should also set the emergency brakes. Make sure computers and phones are fully charged and backed up. Download an app with tornado alerts – we recommend either the NOAA Weather Radar Live or Tornado: American Red Cross.
ATMs do not operate when there are electrical outages so if a potential snowstorm is approaching; make sure they take out cash in advance. IU on-campus dorms, while safe during severe weather are not an on-campus shelter for off-campus students. IU will establish a shelter on campus restricted to current students, faculty, staff, and their immediate families. An IUcard or other identification is required to enter. They are not hotels and offer few amenities.
If a tornado is approaching Bloomington, do not advise your student to get on the road and leave if it is the day before or day of the storm. Bloomington will issue evacuation orders if deemed necessary but clogging up roads is dangerous to your student and could leave them stranded at the worst possible time. Should your student (or you) have other concerns, they should contact University Resources.
None of us can predict the path of a storm or its potential damage and, while traditionally towns and cities centrally located in Bloomington do not take a direct hit, the damage they can cause can be felt quite a distance away, depending on the size of the tornado. Additional information on IU’s storm preparedness can be found below (go ahead and bookmark them in advance)
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