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Here's what you need to know about tornadoes

Severe Weather Preparedness Week
PHOTOS: Monday tornadoes and damage
Posted at 1:30 AM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 11:37:35-04

March 17-23 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week and RTV6 is Working For You to make sure you and your families are prepared when there’s severe weather. Each day this week, RTV6 will be debunking weather myths and offering tips to keep you safe.

INDIANAPOLIS — Tornadoes continue to be one of the amazing weather wonders in the world. They can happen any month of the year, at any hour of the day, and have been reported in all 50 states.

With advancements in technology, lead times have increased significantly; but there is no way to be certain exactly where a tornado will touch down, and many unknown variables still exist.

While it can be determined if conditions are favorable for tornado development and tornado watches are sometimes issued, it is important to remember that thunderstorms can produce tornadoes even if no watch or warning is in place. Despite these variables, there are some signs a tornado may be ready to form.

1. Seeing persistent rotation at the base of the cloud deck.
2. Whirling dust or debris on the ground.
3. A sudden wind shift with hail or heavy rain.
4. Often a sudden calming of the wind will take place just before a tornado forms.

Some other signs include a greenish sky, a loud roar similar to the sound of a train, a wall cloud, and flashes near ground level at night as power lines become impacted.

Peak tornado season here in central Indiana is spring into early summer with a secondary season in the fall. Most of our tornadoes are generally weak and not on the ground for long periods of time. However, EF4 and EF5 tornadoes are possible.

It's very important to have a plan in place with your family at all times. Use this week to refresh your severe weather plan, and download the StormShield app for free in the app store to get warnings for your exact location.