Tornado Safety

No time of year is free from tornadoes, but in Illinois they are most likely to occur during the months of April, May, and June. Since 1950, all counties in Illinois have experienced tornadoes. Illinois has averaged 31 tornadoes per year since 1950, but in 1974 there were 107 sited! 50% of all tornadoes occur between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., but they can strike at any time of the day or night. They are most likely to happen in the late afternoon on hot, spring days. Knowing the basics of tornado safety can help you to survive.

Emergency Communication Plan

In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school,) have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Disaster Supplies

Don't wait until an emergency siren sounds to start grabbing supplies and thinking about what you should do.

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes

Know the Difference

The difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning:

  • A Tornado Watch simply means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Be alert for changing weather, and stay tuned to radio or television reports and account for family members. If you have any indication that a tornado may be approaching, take cover immediately. Do not wait for a Tornado Warning to be issued.
  • A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted. If a Tornado Warning has been issued for your area- seek shelter immediately, the safest place to be is below ground.