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Are You Weather-Ready?

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National Weather Service
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The tornadoes that hit northern Illinois April 9th, 2015

Tornado sirens are for people who are outdoors. For everyone else, there are a lot of options these days when it comes to staying on top of weather emergencies. Northern Illinois University meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste says the key word is “redundancy.”

First, keep an eye on forecasts, which are getting better at predicting severe weather days in advance. The National Weather Service had sent out messages about the likelihood of damaging storms, starting days before a massive tornado took out homes in Rochelle, Fairdale, and Boone County last month. Radio, TV, and weather blogs are great, as are mobile weather apps…to a point. Power can go out, cell phone networks overload…

Sebenste says, "Even up in Fairdale with some providers, the tornado warning did not hit people's cell phones until after the tornado hit. And we are realizing that now. But if you had a weather radio, you would have gotten that warning 15 minutes ahead of time."

Then it’s up to people to take action once they hear the warning. Sebenste says it’s also important for people to know the difference between a watch and a warning, and to make plans. There’s a lot of information under the weather safety section of weather.gov.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.
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