Severe Weather Preparedness

The National Weather Service (NWS) is the official agency for issuing severe weather watches, warnings and advisories to alert the public when dangerous weather conditions are expected.


Thunderstorms can produce damaging winds, deadly lightning, large hail, flash flooding and tornadoes. Illinois is averaging about 64 tornadoes each year. Tornadoes that strike at night are even more dangerous, like the 2021 Father’s Day EF-3 tornado that struck DuPage County.


The National Weather Service and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) All Hazards Weather Radio with battery backup.  These radios can be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties to keep you and your family apprised of impending weather and post-event information for all types of hazards including natural (earthquakes), environmental (chemical spills) and public safety hazards (AMBER alerts).  When an alert is issued for the programmed area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the essential information. The information provided in these alerts will guide you through the appropriate protective measures.


Watches mean that severe weather or flooding might develop near your area over the next several hours. Pay attention to the weather and be ready to act if storms approach. Warning means take action immediately. The storm either has a history of producing damage or flooding or is expected to do so in your area shortly.


In addition to NOAA weather radios, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) can provide lifesaving information about impending storms and emergencies. These alerts can be sent to your mobile device without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.  Not only are these tools critical to surviving overnight storms, but they can be extremely beneficial for those who travel.


State of Illinois IEMA Severe Weather Preparedness Guide


Other resources: