Although they are mostly associated with spring and summer time weather, tornadoes can develop anytime of the year.
Last year eight people were killed and 108 injured during an early morning tornado on February 29 in Harrisburg in southeast Illinois.
Straight-line winds can cause almost as much damage as a tornado and can be just as deadly. Both can strike will little warning.
Illinois ranks fifth in the nation for the most tornadoes per 10,000 square miles with the majority of tornadoes occurring between April 1 and June 30, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Administration (EMA) statistics. Nearly 30 percent of all tornadoes in the state occur after dark.
“Battery powered weather radios are very important to monitor weather situations, especially at night,” said Shelby County EMA Coordinator Jared Rowcliffe. He added to make sure batteries are routinely changed so that a full charge is available in the event of a power outage.
Outdoor warning sirens are made to be heard outdoors, so monitor local weather conditions indoors by weather radio, local TV or Internet.
“An important step in preparing for severe weather is to have a family emergency plan and to practice that plan. Having a plan in place could save a life,” Rowcliffe said. “Some events have advanced warning; others have little or no warning. So having a plan in place will prepare everyone int he family for whatever comes along.”
Determine the best location in your home and workplace to seek shelter, whether is be a basement, underground shelter, interior room or hallway without windows. Do not stay in a mobile home. Go to a neighbor or friends home or nearby public building.
Keep important records and documents in a safe deposit box or safe away from the premises. Make an inventory list with photographs or video of your home and belongings and give to your insurance company.
Maintain a three-day emergency supply kit to help your family cope during power outages.
According to the IEMA, an emergency supply kid should include:
- Battery powered radio, weather radio and flashlights, and extra batteries
- Bottled drinking water
- 3-day supply of canned or sealed foods that do not require refrigeration
- First-aid kit
- Non-electric can opener and utility knife
- Mess kits
- Paper towels, toilet paper, soap and detergent
- Household laundry bleach (unscented)
- A blanket or sleeping bag for each member of the family
- One change of clothing and footwear per person
- Fire extinguisher
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Signal fl are, matches and whistle
- Cell phone and extra battery
- An extra set of car keys, credit card and cash
- A list of family physicians
- Medications or special foods needed by family members such as insulin, heart medication, dietetic food and baby food.
Don’t forget about pets, including ID tags, and food.