Annual Statewide Tornado Drill Is Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Annual Statewide Tornado Drill Is Tuesday, March 7, 2017

If your school, business or friendly government building has an emergency disaster drill this week, don’t be surprised.

The 2017 Severe Weather Preparedness/Awareness Week is March 5 through March 11, and it’s a good time for drills in public buildings — and for your family to make plans in case of emergency.

Kane County Office of Emergency Management Director Don Bryant said the National Weather Service will be testing the statewide tornado alerting system. This year the NWS will not only be sending out a test message through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio along with commercial TV and radio stations, but NWS also received Federal Communications Commission approval to activate the Wireless Emergency Alert system.

WEA is an alerting network in the United States designed to disseminate emergency alerts to mobile devices such as cell phones.

In the wake of last week’s tornado-related death near Ottawa, now is also a good time to review with your family what to do in case of a severe weather emergency.

Tornado Fast Facts

Last week’s tornado damage in the Ottawa area. (CREDIT: Kane County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page)

  • Illinois ranks fifth in the United States for the most tornadoes per square mile.
  • The majority of Illinois tornadoes have occurred between April 1 and June 30 and between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. However, tornadoes have occurred every month of the year at all hours of the day.
  • Nearly 30 percent of all tornadoes in Illinois occur after dark.
  • On average, 50 tornadoes occur each year in Illinois.
  • There were 45 tornadoes reported in Illinois during 2016, which resulted in 16 injuries and nearly $10 million in property damage.
  • In Illinois since 1950:
    • 78 percent of tornadoes have been weak with wind estimated less than 110 mph.
    • 20 percent of tornadoes have been strong with wind estimated between 110-167 mph.
    • 2 percent of tornadoes have been violent with wind estimated greater than 167 mph. A violent tornado occurred on April 9, 2015, from just north of Rochelle to the village of Fairdale.

The chances of being affected by a tornado may seem small, but if you are in a threatened area, act QUICKLY when the threat is confirmed.