Tornado overview

Tornadoes in Indiana

We experience an average of more than 20 tornadoes a year in Indiana, and the best way to protect yourself should one strike your location is to be prepared.

Knowing the difference between a watch and warning can help you determine the risks you may face.

Tornado watch
Tornados and severe thunderstorms are possible — continue normal activities but monitor the situation.

Tornado warning
An actual tornado has been identified in the area by spotters and/or radar.

  • If in the warning area, seek shelter immediately.
  • Stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Basements, interior hallways on the lower floors and small interior rooms on the lower floors offer the best shelter.
  • Know the location of your nearest shelter in advance.
  • Do not open windows; this can increase damage to the building.
  • Report injuries and damage on campus to IU Police Department at 911.
  • Notify your local Campus Facilities Services or Physical Plant Offices of damage.
  • If in a vehicle, get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If a building is not available, lying flat in a depression such as a ditch or a ravine offers some protection.

Things to do

  • As soon as you are aware of a tornado warning in your location, go inside a building, get away from exterior walls, and go to the lowest possible floor. 
  • Get a weather radio and ensure it has full batteries in it.
  • Take your weather radio with you to where you seek shelter so you can learn when a tornado warning expires.
  • If you are in a car and learn that a tornado is approaching, exit your car. Go inside a building or lie in a ditch and protect your head with your hands.

Things you should not do

  • Never wait for a siren to be sure if the danger is real; always head for shelter as soon as you get an alert from the National Weather Service or IU-Notify.
  • Don’t rely only upon IU-Notify for weather warnings. If you don’t have a weather radio, get a phone app that offers weather information and alerts.
  • Don’t leave your shelter until an all clear has been given.
  • Never seek shelter under a bridge, which acts as a funnel and strengthens the winds beneath it.