Tornadoes, lightning, flash foods, damaging winds and destructive hail strike Illinois each spring, summer and fall, sometimes with incredible violence. Being aware of severe weather safety rules and knowing what to do might save your life, which is why the National Weather Service urges you to develop a safety plan for use at home, work, school, driving and during outdoor activities. For more information, visit www.ready.illinois.gov.
Know the terms…A tornado watch means severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible over the next few hours, so 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.
Local warning siren…The West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center (WSCDC), the emergency 911 hub for Oak Park, River Forest, Elmwood Park and Park Ridge, sounds a warning siren when a tornado is sighted within a 10-mile radius. The sirens also are activated at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month as part of a regular statewide test. For more information, visit www.oak-park.us/fire. Information on severe weather also is posted by the National Weather Service at www.spc.noaa.gov.