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Indianapolis weather: Tornado watch issued for Marion County

A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Indiana, including Indianapolis, according to the National Weather Service.

A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Indiana, including Indianapolis, according to the National Weather Service.  

A tornado warning was in effect for central Rush County, about an hour southeast of Indianapolis, until 4:45 p.m. The weather service confirmed a tornado was located over Rushville at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday but the storm has since weakened. 

The tornado watch has also been issued for parts of Ohio and Kentucky and is in effect until 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service's Indianapolis office.  

"For tornado watches, this is pretty standard in size," said Sam Lashley, a meteorologist with NWS in Indianapolis. "Watches tend to cover large areas because tornadoes can occur anywhere in there. Tornado warnings are issued for a much smaller area." 

The tornado watch is in place due to a warm front that extends across the region, coupled with activity in the upper levels of the atmosphere, Lashley said. 

Residents living in the region should charge their phones and keep an eye on weather alerts from the National Weather Service, he said.  

"Because of the way the atmosphere is currently, any storm can become severe quickly and tornadoes can develop rapidly," Lashley said. "We recommend that if a storm is approaching and you hear thunder, then take cover to be proactive today." 

Put on shoes before sheltering from tornado

If a tornado warning is issued or residents want to take cover proactively as a storm approaches, they should go to their basement, according to NWS. 

If residents do not have a basement, they should take cover in an interior bathroom or closet with as many walls between themselves and the outside as possible, Lashley said.

Anyone sheltering from a storm or tornado should be wearing shoes. 

"After an event we see people, they don't even think about putting shoes on, will have something hit their house and will have to walk around on broken glass and nails without shoes," Lashley said. "Be ready in the event something does happen." 

What is the difference between a watch and a warning 

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department previously released information on storm warnings. 

Knowing the difference between a watch and warning, and what actions you should take when they're issued, can help residents take appropriate precautions and stay safe when a storm arrives, according to IMPD. 

Tornado watch issued for Indianapolis, according to NWS.
  • Tornado Watch: Be Prepared. Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives. Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states. 
  • Tornado Warning: Take Action. A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by your local forecast office. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a tornado identified by a forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm. 
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states. 
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action. Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a large hail or damaging wind identified by an NWS forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm. 

Contact Jake Allen at  jake.allen@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jake_Allen19. 

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