Tornadoes, blizzards and climate change. Experts say these are all serious weather conditions facing Illinois. It's what Rockford resident Chuck Hurley said he wants to be prepared for.
"I have concerns because weather changes quite quickly around this area and its always good to know, especially when you're traveling any distance," Hurley said.
Hurley was attending a severe weather discussion at the Byron Forest Preserve, part of a free winter lecture series.
"We're doing a weather talk on weather safety, basically a one-on-one guide, a student's guide to learn about the weather," Speaker and Northern Illinois University Meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste said. "Everything from tornadoes to floods to blizzards, all the things that can impact your viewers."
Sebenste said local residents should know important information, like where to go during severe weather and how to prepare for it. For example with the summer season a few months away, in extreme heat, stay in air conditioning if you can. Experts say items like fans don't actually help when it's humid, since they only circulate air instead of reducing humidity. Spring is also just around the corner, which comes with the chance for potentially deadly storms like tornadoes, a reality that the Rockford region is all too familiar with.
"Obviously we're coming up on the one year anniversary of Fairdale, right now, so that's on a lot of people's minds," Sebenste said.
During a tornado experts recommend you head to the lowest floor of your home, in a closet covering with pillows if possible, and avoiding windows, simple advice that in the Rockford area could be life-saving.
"Hopefully make everyone aware of what those things are and how they impact the communities," Sebenste said.