Indiana Tornado Prompts Questions About Lubbock's Warning System - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/7/05

Indiana Tornado Prompts Questions About Lubbock's Warning System

On Sunday morning's broadcast from our sister station in Indiana, the metrologist said, "in many ways this is a worst case scenario for the tri-state area, because it's happening in the middle of the night, you can't see anything, many people are asleep."

Tornado Rips Through Kentucky & Indiana Killing 22
A tornado with winds exceeding 158 mph ripped a path of destruction through western Kentucky and Indiana as residents slept early Sunday, reducing homes to splinters and leaving entire blocks of buildings in rubble.

Warnings came 13 minutes before the tornado touched down in Evansville, but the the timing couldn't have been worse. "Even though we've been on the air continuously for nearly two hours, but not everybody is watching TV at this hour, we would hope you have a weather radio at your house," WFIE continued.

Hundreds of people did not hear the warning, and when they woke, they found their city in pieces and others lost their lives. It's a devastating sight that Lubbock is no stranger to.

Brian LaMarre from the National Weather Service says the record safety numbers come from a history lesson Lubbockites learned 25 years ago.  "We had 26 tornadoes in our area responsibility and fortunately there were zero fatalities," said LaMarre. 

When we asked Brian if he thought Lubbock is prepared for an overnight tornado he said, "I think there's a lot of measures implemented since the May 11, 1970 tornado. It was an F5 and killed 26 people, and injured 1500 people and we've seen measures over the past several improvedporved to take action to save their life."

In the case of an overnight tornado, taking action is up to you. The weather service will send a warning and NewsChannel 11 will broadcast the warning from the forecast center and on the radio, but it's up to you to hear the alarm and get to safety.

Ken Olson from the Emergency Operations Center said "people need to find a way to get information inside their home. NOAA radios or an inside phone system is the best way. Outdoor warning systems are difficult to hear, we stress using the radio."

Olson and the National Weather Service say communications systems are always improving, but the best way to stay safe is to plan ahead. "The main emphasis is personal responsibility and the individual has to be able to get the information and know what to do with the information," says LaMarre.

Weather radios can be purchased at most electronic or retail stores for $20 to $40.

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