National Weather Service Meteorologist John Gordon says being prepared for weather disasters is like having insurance; you hope to never have to use it, but you’re glad you have it.

Gordon says in light of the situations like the Henryville tornado that swept through Indiana in 2012, Hoosiers should always be prepared for worse-case scenarios. Gordon says a storm “watch” means conditions are ripe for storm formation which may or may not happen, a “warning” means that the storm actually exists and is probably headed your way so take cover.

Gordon, who presented Dubois County with a StormReady designation earlier this year, says everyone needs to be prepared even after a warning is issued.

He says preparedness means having an evacuation plan, an innermost interior room in your home to stay during storms and items like blankets, working cellphones, canned goods, bottled water, flashlights, NOAA weather radios, etc.

The national weather service also released several statistics regarding lightning, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and hail.

Lightning…

  • Causes an average of 55-60 fatalities and 400 injuries each year
  • Costs more than $1 billion in insured losses each year

Tornadoes…

  • Cause an average of 60-65 fatalities and 1,500 injuries each year
  • Can produce wind speeds in excess of 200 mph

Straight-line Winds…

  • Can exceed 125 mph
  • Can cause destruction equal to a tornado

Hail…

  • Can be larger than a softball (5 inches in diameter)
  • Causes more than $1 billion in crop and property damage each year