Tag Archives: weather

Morgan County EMA wants citizens to be prepared for upcoming tornado season

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.

Recent weather trends are raising questions ahead of the 2018 planting season

Weather conditions for West Central Illinois in recent months have prompted many to question what the crop will yield this farming season. WLDS/WEAI news caught up with Duane Friend, an environmental educator with University of Illinois Extension Office in Morgan County to discuss some of the impacts the recent weather trends are having on fields.

Friend talks about effects on farms that come with a colder spring.

In general we’ve been lucky in the fact that we’ve had a relatively cold spring, so it’s not like if we had an early spring and then we had this cold weather. Then we would probably be in a lot worse shape. The big thing is right now is of course it’s holding farmers back from getting in the fields and getting the crop planted. A lot of times here in the last few years we’ve had people already out in the fields and corn already in the ground at this point. If things would warm up, I think things could catch up pretty quickly. If this cold weather continues on for the next two weeks though, that’s gonna start putting people a little farther back than they would like to be, especially for planting corn.”

Friend acknowledges the lower than average precipitation totals from the end of 2017, although he is confident that the 2018 farming season will yield a proper result. However, the possibility of extended variance from normal weather conditions will ultimately determine the value of this year’s crop yields.

We really had a very dry fall, a very dry winter, and there were a lot of concerns about drought conditions steadily creeping in to Western Illinois. With the rain and the precipitation that we’ve had in the last few weeks, that’s backed off a little bit. I think we’re gonna be fine in terms of getting a crop in. The big question will be, ‘What does the rest of spring bring? Do we end up turning suddenly dry and the precipitation goes away?’ That will be one concern. I know that the three-month forecast, I think, is still calling for warmer than average temperatures. So, you know, that’ll all play out here in the next few months. But if we have normal precipitation from here on, at least in terms of soil moisture we should be okay.”

Going forward, Friend says normal precipitation totals would be ideal for both the soil and local bodies of water.

Now a lot of the ponds, a lot of the lakes are still below normal. Those could still use some extra precipitation. Hopefully we’ll get some of that here in the next month or so. We certainly don’t need any excess precipitation, but if we could get normal precipitation hopefully things will start getting back to normal in terms of lake and pond levels, and certainly soil moisture will be adequate.”

Stay tuned to WLDS for all your weather and farming projections and updates.