Statewide Tornado Drill at 10AM Tuesday, March 3

Statewide Tornado Drill at 10AM Tuesday, March 3

The director of the Kane County Office of Emergency Management is giving us a heads up that there’s a statewide tornado drill set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 3.

Don Bryant says the drill is part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois and suggests taking time that week (March 1-7) to become prepared for the approaching severe weather season by developing a safety plan.

“Planning ahead and knowing what to do might save your life,” Bryant said.

Aurora Emergency Management Coordinator Joseph Jones says Aurora schools, businesses and facilities will be participating in the March 3 drill and are asked to complete a brief 2015 Statewide Tornado Drill Report Form. The forms are available online by clicking on the Emergency Management tab on the city of Aurora’s homepage or by calling the Aurora Emergency Management office at 630-256-5801.

If severe weather is forecasted for March 3, the drill will be conducted at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 4.

Of course, the first week in March isn’t just about tornadoes. Each year communities throughout Kane County face the threat of severe weather in the form of tornadoes, deadly lightning, flash foods, damaging winds and destructive hail, sometimes with incredible violence.

Bryant suggests these nine steps:

1. Develop a disaster plan for you and your family at home, work, school, and when outdoors. The American Red Cross offers planning tips and information on a putting together a disaster supplies kit .

2. Identify a safe place to take shelter in your home, school, or business.

3. Know the county in which you live or visit — and in what part of that county you are located. The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings on a county basis, or for a portion of a county.

4. Keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.

5. Have a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warning bulletins.

6. National Weather Service watches and warnings are also available on the Internet.

7. Listen to commercial radio or television/cable TV for weather information.

8. Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors. Watch for signs of approaching storms.

9. If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly, very young, or physically or mentally disabled. Don’t forget about pets and farm animals

‘Tornado Tom’ at Fermilab

SOURCE: Fermilab website

Each year, WGN weather superstar Tom Skilling hosts an extended peek into the methods meteorologists use to track tornados and severe weather, and the ways you can be prepared for serious storms. Skilling and a panel of experts in the field will show footage of severe storms and share their experiences. The free seminars are held in Ramsey Auditorium behind Wilson Hall, and seats are first come, first served. There are two sessions — one at noon, and one at 6 p.m. — and each runs about five hours.

The 2015 Tornado and Severe Storm Seminar will be held on Saturday, March 28. No registration is necessary.


Severe Weather Drill

SOURCE: National Weather Service

A waiver has been granted to the state of Illinois by the Federal Communication Commission to allow the National Weather Service to use the tornado warning code (TOR) on NOAA Weather Radio. The drill will take place on March 3.  NOAA Weather Radios that are set to receiver the TOR code will activate for the drill.

Statewide Severe Weather Awareness Weeks are an opportunity to increase awareness of and response to severe weather hazards.  They are scheduled throughout the spring, targeting a time before the spring severe weather “season” typically begins in that state. Most states also conduct a tornado drill during their awareness week, when test tornado warnings are issued at a predetermined time. Please mark your calendar and plan to participate in the drill for your local area, as this is an opportunity to test your communication methods as if it were a real situation.

Other related topics include:

Tornado Safety

In Houses with basements:  Seek shelter in the basement, under sturdy furniture if possible.

In Houses without basements:  Take cover in the center part of the house, on the lowest floor, in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture. Keep away from windows.

In Shopping Centers: go to a designated shelter area (not to your parked car).

In Office Buildings: go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or to the designated shelter area.

In Schools: follow advance plans to a designated shelter area, usually an interior hallway on the lowest floor. If the building is not of reinforced construction, go to a nearby one that is, or take cover outside on low, protected ground. Stay out of auditoriums, gymnasiums, and other structures with wide, free-span roofs.

In Automobiles: leave your car and seek shelter in a substantial nearby building, or lie flat in a nearby ditch or ravine and cover your head.

In Open Country: lie flat in the nearest ditch or ravine.

In Mobile Homes:  Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable and should be evacuated.  Trailer parks should have a community storm shelter and a warden to monitor broadcasts throughout the severe storm emergency. If there is no shelter nearby, leave the trailer and take cover on low, protected ground and cover your head.