The National Weather Service is currently investigating reports of tornadoes in three Southern Illinois counties. West-Central Illinois remains susceptible to twisters.
Phil McCarty is the Morgan County Emergency Management Coordinator. McCarty gives a few tips for you to ensure your home and family is prepared for the upcoming tornado season.
“Make sure that we have bottled water in our residences and some stored goods. We as a society have grown accustomed to the grocery stores, the convenience stores, being right around the corner. But when those places can’t be open because we don’t have power and we don’t have access to them, what are we going to do? So just keeping a few of those things around the house to make sure you’re prepared, and understanding you know, having a flashlight with a battery, check those batteries. Make sure that those types of things are around the house, because it gets dark and there’s no power, it’s really dark.
Morgan County Emergency Management works diligently with the National Weather Service throughout the year to study future climate forecasts for conditions that may increase chances of tornadoes. In the event of a tornado, McCarty wants every person and family to have an emergency safety plan in place.
“We work extremely hard with the National Weather Service getting that warning out ahead of time. When we know that it’s coming, just having that awareness. We talk days and weeks in advance, ‘Hey, it’s gonna get bad, we’re gonna have bad weather.’ So being aware of the environment outside and understanding when those warnings do come, it’s not something that, ‘Hey, let’s go out and check it out’ because you’re at the greatest risk, when you’re outside, of flying debris and any of the other things associated with the storm. So having that general knowledge of what’s going on and listening and knowing how I’m going to react… ‘Where am I going to go inside my house? If I don’t have a basement, where is an interior room that doesn’t have any windows? And if I have a basement…’ that’s where we need to go.”
If you are not near or inside your home in the event of a tornado, ask for help around the community. Work together instead of against each other to keep fellow citizens safe.
“The first thing is that we want you to be aware. If you’re going out for a walk, it’s great to be active and we want everyone to enjoy the spring weather. But it’s the sky is turning dark, it’s time to head back inside or head to where you can get cover. Stay away from the trees. You gotta find shelter, because when you’re outside… It may be going up and knocking on somebody’s door and seeing if you can go inside for a little while. But when you’re outside, you’re at great risk.
The combination of warmth and moisture in the skies during the spring months can increase the chance of tornadoes this time of year. According to the State Climatologist Office, since 1950, nearly two-thirds of tornadoes in Illinois touch down between April and June.