The area’s mild winter is giving way to spring and bringing with it severe storms. This week is Illinois Severe Weather Awareness Week, giving residents to chance to develop their emergency plans and be prepared before a storm hits. Residents across Naperville participated in a community tornado drill so they know where to go during an emergency.
“This week is a great week to look at your plan and talk through it with your entire family,” said Dan Nelson, Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Naperville. “Talk to different generations, whether it’s grandparents, parents, or children so everybody’s aware of what the plan is and how it would work at the different times of day.”
Storms can hit anytime, but are most likely from 3pm-7pm. As part of your family’s emergency plan, know where to go anytime of the day and how you’ll communicate with one another. Have an out-of-state contact each member of the family can reach in a disaster. And be proactive; don’t wait for the storm to hit to find shelter.
“If you think you’re at risk of severe weather, take action now to go to a place of shelter,” said Nelson. “Don’t wait for the outdoor warning sirens. The sirens are designed to warn people outside. They’re not designed for in-building coverage.”
Tornados are typical from mid to late March until June. Severe thunderstorms can happen anytime during spring, summer, or fall, but flash floods tend to happen in July and August. While this winter didn’t bring much for severe weather, that doesn’t mean we can expect a storm free spring.
“The fact that we are milder than normal, one of the key ingredients in producing thunderstorms is warm, humid air,” said Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “If we are in a mild pattern there is that potential that we could get severe thunderstorms.”
Experts say that we can expect above average temperatures this month and it might be wetter than normal. But they remind local residents that storms can pop up quickly, as communities in Southern Illinois recently experienced.
“You just need all the key ingredients to get together for one afternoon and you’re going to have a disaster,” said Allsopp. “Even if you have a cold, dry spring for the other days, all it needs is that one day where everything comes together and you get the big tornado outbreak.”
Before that storm hits, make sure your emergency kit is ready. You’ll want at least three days’ worth of food, water, and medicine, a battery radio to help you monitor the conditions, a flashlight, and a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
To help prepare your family’s emergency plan and kit, attend an Emergency Preparedness Class.
For more information, call 630-305-7000.
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