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Tornado season is here: be prepared

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Weather forecasters are predicting more severe weather than usual for the Ohio Valley this spring, and Miami Township Fire Chief Colin Altman encourages villagers to have a plan for tornado preparedness.

A tornado watch means that conditions are right for a tornado. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted in the area, and residents should immediately take cover.

Those inside their homes should go to a basement, if they have one. If not, they should go to an interior space away from windows and outside walls.

Those outside should go inside, if possible. In Yellow Springs, the downstairs bathrooms of the John Bryan Community Center have been designated as an official tornado shelter.

In Yellow Springs, two out of three tornado sirens are currently not functioning, and should be repaired by the end of April, according to Village Manager Mark Cundiff. Those not operational are located downtown on Kieth’s Alley and south of town on Allen Street. The siren at Bill Duncan Park is working and will sound if a tornado is spotted in the area.

However, the sirens are not intended to alert those inside homes, only those outside in the area, Cundiff said.

For the first time this year, the Village will activate its Code Red telephone alert system if a tornado is spotted, so that those with landlines and cell phones that have been registered with the Village will be called. However, that process can take 10 to 15 minutes to complete and tornadoes move fast, so villagers should not wait for a call. Anyone who wants to register their cell phone with the Code Red system should call Ruthe Ann Lillich at 767-3402 at the Village offices during normal business hours, or go online to, click on Police Department, and then Code Red.

Also new this year, in the event of a tornado warning, two police officers will announce the news from the loudspeakers in their cars, with one officer in the downtown area and the second in the south part of town.


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