Tornadoes Destroy Downstate Homes; Are you Prepared for the Season?

June 08, 2010

The National Weather Service said 15 tornadoes touched down in north-central Illinois on Saturday, damaging or destroying dozens of homes.

As a result, Governor Pat Quinn has declared the counties of Livingston, LaSalle, Peoria and Putnam state disaster areas.

Chicago Real Estate

Some of the damage done in downstate Illinois from Saturday's confirmed tornadoes.

“After viewing devastation caused by these tornadoes, it’s obvious that this state disaster declaration is needed to help these communities recover,” Quinn said in a statement after touring the village of Dwight, one of the hardest-hit communities. “The state has many tools that can be mobilized quickly to help with recovery efforts, and this declaration will ensure that those assets continue to be provided for as long as they are needed.”

About 8,400 ComEd customers lost electricity from the storms, and some didn’t get power back until today. Luckily, only minor injuries were reported.

Inmates from the Dwight, Sheridan, Pontiac and Stateville correctional centers were sent to help with the clean-up.

To make a donation to help in the recovery effort, please contact the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross.

If you want to volunteer in the clean-up effort, call (815) 257-9911 for more information. Non-local contractors are required to get a permit and can call (815) 679-8578 for additional information.

* * *

So, do you know what to do in the event of a tornado warning?

*Stay in Tune: Make sure you have a battery-operated radio in case the power goes out.

*At Home: Go to a predetermined safe zone, preferably an interior room or basement with no windows. Bathrooms and closets work well. Stay away from windows and don’t open them. If you can, get under a piece of large, sturdy furniture; it could protect you from flying debris.

*In a Car: If you are in a car, leave it immediately and try to get into an interior room of a nearby building. Do not seek shelter under a bridge or highway overpass.

*Outdoors: If you are outside and there is no shelter, lie flat in a low spot with your arms and hands protecting your head.

*The Aftermath: Beware of ruptured gas lines, downed electrical lines, flooding and structural damage to your home. If you find someone injured, call 9-1-1, but do not try to move that person.

According to the National Weather Service, the most common tornado for the Chicago area is an F2 on the Fujita Scale, which was developed and named after a researcher at the University of Chicago. The last time an F2 tornado hit the Chicago area was in 1997. The strongest tornado type, an F5, has touched down only once around Chicago, in 1990.

For severe weather updates, check out this Illinois link and be safe!

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