Illinois is ranked fifth in the nation in tornado frequency per square mile and averages 45 tornado incidents per year. Last weeks earlier then anticipated start to the tornado season makes it even more important to have a severe weather plan in place and to know how and when to act on it.
Developing an effective strategy includes:
Have a plan
You may only have seconds to act from the time the siren sounds until a storm hits. The safest place is a basement. If there is no basement, go to an interior closet, hall or bathroom on the lowest floor and stay away from windows. Cover your head with pillows or sofa cushions.
A brief drill and discussion about storm safety only makes sense.
Listen for the tornado warning signal, tune into T.V. or radio weather stations and monitor the situation so you can be ready to act. NOAA Weather Radio is the best means to receive warnings from the National Weather Service. The Village of Oak Park also has its own emergency notification service that will keep you posted via phone, email or text once you register.
A severe thunderstorm or tornado watch means severe thunderstorms or tornadoes are possible in your area over several hours. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted by a trained storm spotter, or Doppler radar has detected conditions that will likely produce a tornado.
During a tornado warning you should get to a safe place immediately. Do not hesitate to protect yourself and your loved ones. Go to your predetermined safe place, continue to monitor, if possible, and listen for the “all clear” tornado signal.