Are you prepared for spring storms? Safety tips and reminders as the season begins

  • Severe storms moving through Lake County in 2019 offer an impressive light show. With spring storms on the way, preparation is key to staying safe, experts say.

      Severe storms moving through Lake County in 2019 offer an impressive light show. With spring storms on the way, preparation is key to staying safe, experts say. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • April means storm season is on its way. Fortunately, there are many sources to help you prepare for and deal with tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and floods, and alert systems to help you adjust to fast-changing conditions.

      April means storm season is on its way. Fortunately, there are many sources to help you prepare for and deal with tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and floods, and alert systems to help you adjust to fast-changing conditions. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Start preparing for storm season now by checking out the many sources available to help you deal with power outages, wind damage and floods.

    Start preparing for storm season now by checking out the many sources available to help you deal with power outages, wind damage and floods. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 3/31/2022 6:49 AM

From checking gutters and trimming trees to wearing shoes if you have to leave your home, there are many considerations going into the spring storm season.

Fortunately, there are many sources to help you prepare for and deal with tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and floods -- and alert systems to help you adjust to fast-changing conditions.

 

Pay attention to the news and emergency broadcasts and don't rely on tornado sirens, says Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani.

"Not everyone can hear sirens, and there may be a delay based on when the notifications happen for the siren to activate," he said. "Plus, tornadoes can emerge from a storm without early detection or warning."

Communities, emergency management agencies, insurance companies, rescue organizations, cleanup specialists and other entities this time of year offer tips of what to consider before, during and after a big storm.

A good place to start is the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's severe weather preparedness guide.

The comprehensive guide outlines the dangers and offers suggestions for how to deal with floods, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and lightning. The site also features an extensive list of what should be included in an emergency supply kit for people and animals.

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Sources of weather safety information throughout Illinois and for neighboring states also are available on the site.

The American Red Cross and State Farm Insurance, for example, suggest ways to stay safe during a storm or windstorm.

Taking preventive steps especially is important given the increase in the frequency and severity of storms, noted Kurt Woolford, executive director of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission.

Though every circumstance is different, there are common denominators when it comes to being prepared for the weather.

Keep your gutters clear so clogged water doesn't damage the roof. Trim shrubs and branches that could damage windows or power lines. Look for unusual standing water or poorly draining areas -- early warning signs that can lead to costly flood damage repairs.

Be informed and ready by understanding weather terminology, don't underestimate potential dangers, sign up for alerts, have a plan to stay safe and a "go bag" ready, experts say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is important to know your local resources and sources of information, to make a plan in advance of an event and to test those plans regularly," said Dan Eder, manager of the Lake County Emergency Management Agency.

The National Weather Service, for example, has information specific to where you live as well educational materials on how to prepare for bad weather.

Locally, Lake County SKYWARN provides specific weather information for Lake County and surrounding areas. Many local governments provide incident-specifc information on their Web pages and/or social media, Eder added.

Wireless Emergency Alerts are automatically sent to WEA capable phones during an emergency, including extreme weather, and no signup is required, he added. Visit weather.gov/wrn/wea.

Utility companies, such as ComEd, provide customers with alerts via text, email or phone. Outages are tracked on the company website, according to Lou Bruno, a member of the Fremont Township Community Emergency Response Team.

"The ComEd outage maps very much will be an indicator of where serious weather is occurring," he said.

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