This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois, and coincidentally, we've already had a few severe storms in the Stateline, something that usually doesn't happen until later in the spring.
Think back to the last few storms- how ready were you when the storms thundered through? Were there things you plan to remember to do for next time? This is the goal of Preparedness Week- for you to go over your severe weather safety plan and be ready for storms well ahead of when they strike. Preparing now gets you to your storm shelter quicker, instead of you taking time to get ready.
What should you be familiar with? Know the difference between a Watch and a Warning. Watches mean conditions are right for severe weather, and we could see severe weather occur over the next few hours. This is your head's up to be ready and alert. Follow the weather closely. A Warning means severe weather is happening or will happen very soon. Move to shelter immediately if you are under a Warning.
Where should your shelter be? Get as low as possible, preferably into a basement. If not, put as many walls between you and the outside on the lowest floor. A closet is a good place; same with a bathroom, as long as the bathroom doesn't have windows. Avoid windows and doors at all costs. Evacuate mobile homes- those aren't anchored to the ground, so they can flip or fall over, especially in tornadoes.
Have first aid, non-perishable food and water, extra medicine, and insurance paperwork in your safe location. Blankets, boots, bike helmets, and other emergency supplies are good ideas of things to have in your shelter too.
Have multiple ways to get warnings, in case the power goes out or you don't have a cell phone signal. The tornado warning sirens are good for people outdoors, but you may not hear them indoors. A weather radio is a great tool to have, since it can run on batteries, plus it's loud enough to wake you up at night, where you might not hear the tornado sirens.
Treat severe weather, regardless if it's a severe thunderstorm or a tornado, with plenty of respect. You can track severe weather and whatever else is headed our way at www.wrex.com/weather.