Grant County, IN
Grant County, IN
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Emergency Management Agency
Grant County EMA
401 S. Adams Street
6th Floor
Marion, IN 46953

Office hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon-Fri
Office: 765-651-2410
Fax: 765-668-4228

Bob Jackson, Director
Amanda Simmons, Deputy Director
Julie Pattison, Admin. Assistant


Tornadoes form when cold, dry air meets with warm, moist air. A whirlwind is created by a gust of warm air rising in a spiral motion, causing water vapor to be swept upward. As the warm air cools, a twisting, spiral shaped cloud forms. The tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm with winds that can range from 65mph to over 200mph. Tornadoes can strike in any season, but occur most often in the spring and summer months. They can occur at all hours of the day and night, but are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.


What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service?
  • Tornado watch - Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. The watch is intended to give you time to review your safety rules. Watches may last for several hours. Stay aware of changing weather conditions. Make sure you have a way to receive weather alerts (phone, text message, weather radio, etc.). 
  • Tornado warning - Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.  A warning for your area means YOU SHOULD TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY! 

  • Be alert for changing weather conditions when storms approach. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local media for the latest weather information. 
  • Develop your own disaster plan- build a kit, make a family communications plan and be informed and know what to do before, during and after an emergency. 
  • If you or a family member has special needs, register with your emergency management agency, police and/or fire department before any disaster strikes. 
  • Know where to go to seek shelter- at work, school, home, in your car, in public buildings or mobile homes.

Do you know what to do during a tornado warning?

If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter IMMEDIATELY! Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head.
  • At Home : Go to the lowest level and as close to the center of your house as possible. The basement, a windowless bathroom, closet or inside hallway. Stay away from windows. 
  • At Work or School: Follow teachers’ instructions or safety officers. Go to an inside wall on the lowest floor. Interior bathrooms or closets make a good shelter area. Avoid large, open rooms like gymnasiums or auditoriums where roofs can collapse. 
  • In a Mobile Home: Get out and seek shelter in a designated storm shelter or the lowest floor of a sturdy building nearby. 
  • In your Car: Never try to outrun a tornado. Seek shelter in a nearby sturdy building. If no buildings are nearby, then get lower than the roadway by lying flat in a ditch and covering your head with your hands. Highway overpasses offer no protection from a tornado and should not be used as shelter. 
  • In a Public Building: Go to a middle hallway on the lowest floor. Many public places have designated shelter areas-learn to look for these signs. 
Remember to DUCK
        D - Go DOWN to the lowest level
        U - Get UNDER something sturdy like a staircase, heavy table or desk;
        C - COVER your head;
        K - KEEP in shelter until the storm passes.

A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. GET OUT. Plan ahead to give yourself time to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.

As an absolute last resort, if you are caught outside and no shelter is available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Remember that you are trying to protect yourself from the high winds at the surface, so lower is usually better.

Do not take shelter under a highway overpass or bridge. These can act as "wind tunnels." You are safer in a low, flat location.  Plan to stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed. Take water, snacks, an AM/FM radio, and your cell phone with you.

Remember that tornadoes can occur day or night, during any time of the year. The best defense when severe weather threatens is preparedness.

Click on the following links for more helpful information: - Tornadoes
PDF - NWS - Tornado Brochure
American Red Cross - Tornadoes
Video - Prepare for a Tornado
Video - NWS During a Tornado
Video - NWS After a Tornado

Helpful Information
Tornado Facts
Tornado Facts :
As the severe weather season approaches, take some time during Severe Weather Safety Awareness Week to make a safety plan for your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Planning ahead will lower the chance of injury or death in the event severe weather strikes.

Tornadoes develop from severe thunderstorms. They are usually preceded by very heavy rain and/or large hail. A thunderstorm accompanied by hail indicates that the storm has large amounts of energy and may be severe. In general, the larger the hailstones, the more potential there is for damaging winds and/or tornadoes.   The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths have exceeded the width of one mile and 50 miles long. Tornadoes generally move from southwest to northeast, but have also been recorded traveling in any direction. The forward speed of a tornado varies from 30 mph to 70 mph. 

Tornado Safety Tips :

1 - Whether practicing in a tornado drill or sheltering during a warning, DUCK! 

        D - Go DOWN to the lowest level
        U - Get UNDER something
        C - COVER your head
        K - KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed

2 - The safest place to be during a tornado is a basement. If the building has no basement or cellar, go to a small room (a bathroom or closet) on the lowest level of the structure, away from windows and as close to the center of the building as possible.
3 - Be aware of emergency shelter plans in stores, offices and schools. If no specific shelter has been identified, move to the building's lowest level. Try to avoid areas with large glass windows, large rooms and wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways or shopping malls.
4 - If you're outside, in a car or mobile home, go immediately to the lowest level of a nearby sturdy building. Sturdy buildings are the safest structures to be in when tornadoes threaten. Winds from tornadoes can blow large objects, including cars and mobile homes, hundreds of feet away.
5 - If there is no building nearby, lie flat in a low spot. Use your arms and hands to protect your head. It is not safe to seek shelter under highway overpasses and bridges.
6 - Take responsibility for your safety and be prepared before a watch or warning is issued. Meet with household members to develop a disaster plan to respond to tornado watches and warnings. Conduct regular tornado drills. When a tornado watch is issued, review your plan – don't wait for the watch to become a warning. Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
7 - Despite Doppler radar, tornadoes can sometimes occur without any warning, allowing very little time to act. It is important to know the basics of tornado safety. Know the difference between tornado watches and tornado warnings.
8 - Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. NOAA broadcasts warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information, 24 hours a day. NOAA Weather Radio is not just for emergencies but is a round-the-clock source of weather reports and information to help prepare for the day ahead.
9 - Broadcasts are found in the public service band at frequency 162.450 (MHz). You can purchase a NOAA weather radio at electronic or department stores.
10 - If a tornado should strike, keep track of the storm by listening to a radio station that broadcasts for the Emergency Alert System. In Grant County, those stations designated as Emergency Alert System stations are -----
11 - You should also tune into the Weather Channel or your local cable television news channel.
12 - NOAA Weather Radio has available an alerting tool for people who are deaf or have hearing impairments. Some weather radio receivers can be connected to an existing home security system, much the same as a doorbell, smoke detector or other sensor. For additional information, visit: