This is Severe Weather Preparedness
when severe storms and flooding strike
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[March 02, 2009]
Severe weather affected nearly
every corner of Illinois in 2008. Tornadoes touched down 48 times,
injuring 11 people and causing tens of millions in damage. Flooding
ravaged many parts of the state on four separate occasions during
the year. Six people were killed and property losses were in the
hundreds of millions of dollars. The bottom line: Illinoisans
must be prepared for the effects of severe thunderstorms,
tornadoes and flooding.
To help the citizens of Illinois be more aware of the dangers of
severe storms and flooding, the National Weather Service, in
cooperation with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, has
declared the week of March 1-7 as Severe Weather
Preparedness Week in the state of Illinois.
"Being ready for the hazards created by severe thunderstorms is
essential each and every year," said Chris Miller, warning
coordination meteorologist with the NWS in Lincoln. "People need to
know where to seek safe shelter when damaging winds or tornadoes are
expected. They need to know that it is not safe to cross a flooded
road in a vehicle or by foot in any circumstance. The weather the
past several years has proven that no part of Illinois is immune to
the threat of severe storms or flooding."
The state of Illinois experiences more than 40 tornadoes, 170
flooding events, 200 reports of large hail and more than 300 reports
of severe wind or wind damage each year. The following information
will help you stay safe from these inevitable forces of nature:
More than 75 percent of
all flood-related deaths are due to people attempting to drive
into a flooded area. If the water is 12 inches deep or more,
back up and take a different route. NEVER let children
play in or near floodwaters or drainage ditches.
Develop a severe
weather safety plan for use at home, in the workplace, at
schools, in your vehicle and for outdoor activities.
In a home with a
basement, take shelter under a sturdy table or workbench.
In homes without a
basement, go to the lowest floor possible, and seek shelter in
an interior hallway, closet or bathroom without windows.
In mobile homes,
seek shelter well before the storm approaches. Go to a
sturdy building. Do not try to ride out the storm in a mobile
In the workplace,
go to the designated storm shelters on the lowest floor
possible. If your employer has not assigned storm shelters, or
if you are not sure where they are, ask your company's safety
In schools, the
safest place to go is in an interior hallway on the lowest
floor, away from windows and doors.
In your vehicle,
if a tornado is bearing down on you, take shelter in a sturdy
building. If no building is nearby, then lie flat in a ditch or
ravine and cover your head. Do NOT seek shelter under a bridge
or highway overpass.
Outdoors, try to
get into a sturdy building. If there is no building nearby, then
lie flat in a ditch or low spot and cover your head.
[to top of second column]
Know the terms
related to tornadoes and severe storms.
is a violently rotating column of air that extends from the base
of the thunderstorm cloud to the ground.
THUNDERSTORM can produce large hail, three-fourths inch in
diameter or larger, and wind gusts around 60 mph or higher that
can result in damage to trees, structures or power lines. Severe
thunderstorm winds can be stronger, and produce more damage,
than 70 percent of the tornadoes that affect Illinois.
A WATCH means that tornadoes or severe thunderstorms are possible, and
you need to watch the weather closely.
means that a tornado or severe thunderstorm has been detected by
radar, or has been reported by a trained storm-spotter. Seek
safe shelter immediately if your location is in the path of the
sources at hand to monitor threatening weather conditions.
It is critical to monitor watches, warnings and other storm
information. A tone-alert weather radio is the most efficient
way to do this. Most weather radios can be easily programmed, so
you only receive the watches and warnings for your county, or
any other nearby counties you choose.
television and radio stations that are participating members
of the Emergency Alert System is another good way to keep
abreast of approaching storms.
Don't just rely on
outdoor warning sirens. They may not be heard indoors and
may not wake you up. If you hear an outdoor warning siren, turn
on your weather radio or other radio or TV station for more
For more information about being adequately prepared for severe
weather, visit the NWS Lincoln "Severe Weather Safety" Web
National Weather Service
file received via Terry Storer, Logan County Emergency Management