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Severe Weather Preparedness

News Date: 
Monday, Apr 18, 2022 - 04:15

The Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) encourages residents to be prepared for severe weather. In Cook County, the most common severe weather hazards residents may experience include thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, wind, flooding, and power outages. Regardless of the weather emergency, it’s always a great idea to prepare ahead of time. In order to make you, your family, and home safer during weather emergencies or any disaster, have plans and supplies in place to ensure safety and aid in recovery.

Receiving timely information of pending severe weather can make all the difference in seeking shelter and remaining safe. Visit www.ready.gov/alerts to better understand the reliable systems that public safety officials use for timely notification. Also, text “alertcook” to 888-777 to sign-up for emergency alerts that come directly from your Cook County public safety team.

Although weather forecasts can help us stay informed and take preparedness actions, severe weather can also strike without warning. In times like these, your family and loved ones may not be together. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. A Family Communication Plan is a great place to start and help with creating one can be found at www.ready.gov/plan.

After a severe weather event, there may be power outages or impassable roads that prevent you from accessing stores or utilizing appliances to prepare meals. A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items that your household needs to survive for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency. Visit www.ready.gov/kit for more information on how to build a disaster supply kit.

To learn more about each severe weather hazard and increase your preparedness, please see the information provided below.

Floods

Flood Warning is issued when flooding is happening or will happen soon. Some roads will be flooded. Move to higher ground. Never drive through flooded roads. Take Action. A Flood Watch is issued when flooding is possible. Stay tuned to radio or TV. Follow weather.gov and be ready to seek higher ground. Learn more at weather.gov/flood. Be Prepared.

Don't underestimate the power of water! 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry away an adult. 12 inches of fast-moving water can carry away a small car. 18-24 inches of fast-moving water can carry away most large SUVs, vans, and trucks.

 

Thunderstorms

When thunder roars, go indoors. Lightning fatalities for outdoor sports: 40% soccer, 27% golf, 17% running, 10% baseball, 3% football, and 3% other. Step 1, leave the field immediately. Step 2, seek shelter in an enclosed building or hard-topped vehicle with windows up. Wait 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder to return outside. Learn more at weather.gov/lightning.

 

Tornadoes

Know where to go when sheltering from a tornado. Quickly move to your basement and bring your emergency supply kit. If you have no basement, move to an interior room with no windows. Top floor rooms do not protect you. Exterior rooms and rooms with windows do not protect you. No place outside is safe from a tornado. Learn more at weather.gov/safety/tornado.

Tornado sheltering guidelines: seek the best available refuge area immediately when a tornado warning is issued. Your chance of surviving a tornado is excellent if you follow these guidelines. Best options are above or below ground Tornado Storm Shelter (NSSA/CC 500 compliant recommended by FEMA) or specifically-designed FEMA safe room. Good options are interior room of a well-constructed home or building or a basement. Bad options are large open rooms like gymnasiums or manufactured housing. Worst options are mobile homes, vehicles, or underneath a highway overpass. Find another option and stay in place until all clear.

Tornadoes and Road Safety infographic. What to do includes getting off the road. The best option is to drive to a designated shelter, basement or safe room. The next best option is a small, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. What not to do. Do not seek refuge in a vehicle, outside or under an overpass. A highway overpass does not provide safety from a tornado. Do not seek shelter under an overpass or a tree. This puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds.

 

Power Outages

Tips for a Power Outage infographic: keep freezers and refrigerators closed. Use a generator, but only outdoors and away from windows. Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges. Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices. Check with local officials about heating and cooling locations open near you.

To view current weather conditions and alerts, please visit the National Weather Service's website