March is Severe Weather Month

March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month
Posted on 02/24/2022

Each year the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) observes the month of March as Severe Weather Preparedness Month throughout the state. Severe weather in the form of tornadoes, lightning, flash floods, damaging winds and destructive hail strike Illinois each spring, summer and fall, sometimes with incredible violence.

During 2021, the National Weather Service reported many storms, including the following:  June 20-21 Severe Weather event including an EF-3 Tornado in the Chicago Metro area, resulting in damage to 230 homes, thousands of trees downed, and at least 11 injuries.  On August 9, ten tornadoes moved across parts of Northern Illinois. Then, on December 10, severe winds speeds of 85 MPH caused two semis on I-57 to be blown onto their sides.
Having a better understanding of severe storms and tornadoes, along with new technology such as Doppler radar, faster communications, and better Skywarn storm spotting networks, allow meteorologists to provide more accurate and timely warnings.

Arlington Heights maintains one of the most advanced outdoor severe weather warning systems available. However, these systems should not be your primary method of receiving tornado warnings at home. The sirens are there to warn people who are outdoors to take cover.

At home, the best way to receive severe weather warnings is with a tone alert NOAA Weather Radio. While you are awake you most likely will get information from your television, but what about in the middle of the night while asleep? A NOAA Weather Radio alerts people with a high-pitched alarm. They can be programmed to only alert you to warnings for a specific county or area. These radios are extremely inexpensive and can be purchased at many electronics stores for $30 to $90.

The Fire Department urges residents to develop a safety plan for use at home, workplace, school, vehicle and for outdoor activities. Be aware of severe weather safety rules. For more information related to a safety plan, you may contact Community Risk Reduction at the Fire Department, Division Chief Dave Roberts at [email protected].

Planning ahead and knowing what to do might save your life. For more information visit the Illinois Emergency Management Agency website.

Illinois is also recognizing Severe Weather Preparedness Week, Feb. 28th - March 4th, to encourage residents to prepare in the following ways: