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March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month
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By Member Ed St. Louis
March 15, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, IL – When most people think about dangerous spring weather, tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding usually come to mind. In Illinois, roughly 20 percent of tornadoes occur at night. For a number of reasons, tornadoes that occur at night are twice as likely to result in fatalities. This is why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service is underscoring the importance of having more than one way to receive emergency alerts and notifications during Severe Weather Preparedness Month.

“Building a culture of preparedness is how we increase disaster readiness in our everyday lives,” said Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Mother Nature does not discriminate when it comes to severe weather. Severe Weather Preparedness Month serves as an opportunity to remind the public to identify the hazards that exist in their community and put plans in place to protect your family for what may lie ahead.”

The National Weather Service and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) All Hazards Weather Radio with battery backup. These radios can be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties to keep you and your family apprised of impending weather and post-event information for all types of hazards including natural (earthquakes), environmental (chemical spills) and public safety hazards (AMBER alerts). When an alert is issued for the programmed area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the essential information.

In this day and age of families constantly on the go, it is also critical for people to have multiple ways to receive notifications and updated information about severe weather warnings. FEMA offers a FREE mobile app that provides fast and reliable weather alerts from the National Weather Service (NWS). The app can be tailored to offer alerts for up to five different locations nationwide. The mobile app can also help you locate open shelters and disaster resource centers near you in the event of an emergency.

In addition to NOAA weather radios, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) can provide life-saving information about impending storms and emergencies. These alerts can be sent to your mobile device without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service. Not only are critical tools to surviving overnight storms, but they can be extremely beneficial for those who travel.

The National Weather Service will be recognizing Severe Weather Preparedness Week during the week of March 1-7 and Flood Safety Awareness Week during March 9-13. For more information about what to do before, during and after a storm, please visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov. There you will find a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, developed by IEMA and NWS, which provides tips on how to prepare for all weather emergencies.


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