Severe Weather Awareness Week - Topic: Tornadoes

By: Meteorologist Mark Henderson Email
By: Meteorologist Mark Henderson Email

Severe Weather Awareness Week is underway in the State of Illinois. Each day this week, we'll touch on a different aspect of severe weather that threatens the Stateline, and provide tips on how to keep you and your family safe in the case of severe weather.

Tornado Safety : Statistics from the National Weather Service conclude that in Illinois, most tornadoes occur during a window that runs from April to June. However, January's Poplar Grove tornado is a stern reminder that severe weather follows no calendar. Most tornadoes here occur between mid-afternoon and early evening, but they can occur anytime of day and any month of the year.

In 2007, a quiet severe weather season produced only 22 tornadoes in the state of Illinois, compared to a record 124 twisters in 2006. An average year sees 41 tornadoes in the Land of Lincoln, which according to the NWS makes our state 5th in the nation in tornadoes per square mile.

When a tornado threatens, every second matters! Having a preparedness plan for your home, school, and workplace is absolutely critical. So, where do you seek shelter in the case of a tornado? Here are some tips, courtesy of the National Weather Service!

-In a home, go to the basement and get under the stairwell, or under a heavy piece of furniture. 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.

-In schools, hospitals, churches and office buildings, go to small interior rooms or halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows. Avoid large open areas with free span roofs such as gymnasiums and cafeterias.

-In steel and concrete high rise buildings, it is not necessary to get to the lowest floor, but go to interior halls, bathrooms or closets. Stay away from windows.

-In shopping centers, avoid large open areas and glass. Seek shelter in bathrooms, small interior spaces and behind counters. Do not attempt to escape in your vehicle.

-Abandon mobile homes and vehicles for a nearby reinforced building. As a last resort lie flat in a ditch. Do not seek shelter under an overpass.

Tornado Watches and Warnings (NWS Definitions)

A tornado watch means severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in your area over the next few hours. Be prepared.

A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted by a trained storm spotter, or intense rotation that will likely produce a tornado has been detected by Doppler radar. Get to a place of safety immediately.

Statewide Tornado Drill Tuesday March 4

At 10:00 AM Tuesday (3/4), the National Weather Service will issue a test tornado warning for all Illinois counties. Be prepared to hear sirens sound in most locations at this time.This would be a good time to review your severe weather procedures or conduct a tornado drill at your school or place of business.


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