Dangerous thunderstorms, straight-line winds, tornadoes possible
SPRINGFIELD – With widespread severe weather predicted for most of Illinois Wednesday afternoon and evening, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today encouraged people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued.
“Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can happen any time of the year,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We’re keeping an eye on the storm system predicted for Wednesday, and encourage everyone to stay aware and be prepared to seek shelter if a storm warning is issued.”
Joseph said people should have multiple ways to receive notifications and updated information about severe weather warnings, such as through a weather alert radio, Wireless Emergency Alerts, weather alert apps, TV and radio broadcasts, the Internet, outdoor warning sirens and more.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radios can be programmed to issue a tone alarm and provide information about a warning that has been issued for your county. The tone alarm provides a 24/7 alert to approaching hazards, even during overnight hours when many people are sleeping.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are available on most smartphones. Check your phone’s notification settings under ‘Government Alerts’ to ensure ‘Emergency Alerts’ is turned on. With a WEA-enabled phone, you will receive tornado and flash flood warnings issued for your location, even if you’re traveling outside your home county or state. Other smartphone alerting apps also are available, including the tornado app by the American Red Cross.
In addition, many communities have outdoor warning sirens, which can alert people outdoors of an approaching hazard. Don’t rely on these sirens to alert you when you’re inside a building or asleep.
If a tornado warning is issued for your area, seek shelter immediately, preferably in a basement underneath the stairs or a sturdy piece of furniture. If there is no basement, go to an interior hallway or a small interior room without windows, get under sturdy furniture and use pillows or cushions to protect your head and neck.