Severe thunderstorms possible today

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible across all of central Indiana today and tonight, according to officials with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

The weather bureau says a strong storm system moving through the area today and tonight will bring with it a moderate threat of thunderstorms, which may include large hail, damaging straight line winds and tornadoes.

Dave Costin, director of Putnam County 911 Dispatch Center, told the BannerGraphic Wednesday that as far as he knows, the county's tornado sirens are up and running, even though this is mid-October and one doesn't typically think of it as being severe weather season.

Weather statistics from the last 100 years prove that severe storms, and even tornadoes, can form in the Hoosier State in any given month of the year.

With today's threat in mind, Costin wanted to remind Putnam County residents that the tornado sirens are activated for three primary reasons:

* The weather bureau issues a tornado warning for the county,

* The county is currently under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and a Tornado Watch is issued, or

* A trained spotter, or law enforcement officer, reports seeing a tornado in the county or in an adjacent county to the west - primarily Clay and Parke.

"If people hear the sirens, they need to seek shelter," Costin said.

Although not as common as in the spring and summer months, Indiana is no stranger to tornadoes in October.

According to records at the weather bureau, a tornado touched down, killing one person, in southern Indiana near Corydon, on Oct. 1, 1977.

On Oct. 8, 1992, four twisters left their mark in northeast Indiana near Fort Wayne, forcing the international airport there to shut down and breaking windows in the control tower.

Oct. 11, 1954 saw a tornado hit Franklin at 2:15 p.m., killing two people and injuring 10 more.

Finally, four people were hurt near Libertyville on Oct. 17, 1988, when a tornado struck, according to the weather bureau.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a record 10.5 inches of snow -- the earliest on record -- fell on central Indiana on Oct. 19, 1989.

Other years saw lesser amount of the white stuff during October.

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