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Tornado Season in Ohio: Are You Prepared?

Ohio averages more than a dozen tornadoes every year, according to the National Weather Service. (Pixabay)
Ohio averages more than a dozen tornadoes every year, according to the National Weather Service. (Pixabay)
March 23, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wind, rain, thunder and ,sometimes, even snow – Ohio is known for its volatile spring weather.

And during Severe Weather Awareness Week, Ohioans are being encouraged to be prepared.

Today, counties throughout the state are holding simultaneous tornado drills at 9:50 a.m.

Gary Garnet, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Cleveland, says the test is a good reminder for schools, businesses and families to have emergency plans in place should dangerous weather strike.

"We change from cold to warm very fast,” he points out. “Severe weather can oftentimes come up very quick, with little or sometimes no warning.

“So, people need to think about severe weather action plans, particularly if they're commonly in outdoor places."

During a tornado drill or an actual tornado, Garnet says people should get as low to the ground as possible – get under something, cover their heads and keep shelter until the storm has passed.

He adds another crucial piece of preparedness is understanding the difference between a watch and warning.

A watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather. A warning indicates severe weather is already occurring or will be soon.

Ohio experiences more than a dozen tornadoes every year, and just last week a small twister caused damage near Dayton.

But Garnet says other types of severe weather also are dangerous.

"Damaging winds out of thunderstorms, winds that get 50, 60, 70 miles an hour, they knock over trees, power lines, do minor damage to structures,” he says. “But we also get flash flooding, which is very common, and a lot of people drive into flooded waters."

NOAA Weather Radio provides information 24 hours a day, but Ohioans also can learn about hazardous weather from local TV and radio stations, and receive weather alerts on their mobile devices.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH