Are You Ready for This?

April 27, 2011

Spring has sprung and rain has been falling upon our Chicago homes.

In fact, according to Meteorologist Tom Skilling, April has produced the greatest number of rainy days in the Chicago area since 1961. On top of that, this is the 17th rainiest April since 1871, and that doesn’t even count Wednesday’s rain!

Many residents are keeping an eye on rivers that are running near or at flood level, including the Des Plaines, Fox, Kankakee and Illinois Rivers.

elgin under water

This is Elgin in 2008.

Elgin residents are watching Poplar Creek, which is running faster and higher than normal. At 2.5-feet over the normal level, and with the ground already saturated, the possibility of flooding is high.

“Elgin creeks are above normal right now and we’re encouraging everyone to be prepared for the possibility of flooding,” said Elgin’s Office of Emergency Management coordinator Karen Flanagan. “Residents in all of the city’s low-lying areas should be prepared to find emergency shelter if necessary and stay informed.”

In 2008, creek flooding forced the evacuation of Elgin residents by boat.

All Chicago residents can heed this advice from Elgin’s OEM:

*Have an evacuation plan before flooding occurs.

*Leave your home before the flood waters prevent you from evacuating safely.

*Listen to local radio and TV stations for weather updates.

*Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road.

*If you get stuck in your car, leave it and move to higher ground.

*Be on the alert for downed power lines and stay away from them.

Chicago homeowners, make sure your property’s sump pump is working properly and cleared of debris. You should also have a battery backup system for it because with heavy storms come power outages.

In case of an outage, have on hand a battery-powered radio, flashlights with extra working batteries, water, first-aid supplies, canned food items and a manual can opener.

Residents who live in the southern parts of our state have been preparing all week.

On Monday, Governor Pat Quinn issued a disaster proclamation for parts of southern Illinois to be sure that state resources are ready in the case of widespread flooding.

“I have directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to coordinate state personnel and assets needed to help affected communities protect their residents and critical infrastructure from the rising floodwaters,” said Governor Quinn. “We are committed to helping these areas deal with a very difficult and potentially dangerous situation.”

On Tuesday, Quinn called up the National Guard.

“The Illinois National Guard fully supports Governor Quinn’s activation of our Guardsmen for flood relief,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Illinois National Guard Adjutant General. “These Guardsmen are fully trained and motivated to assist in this mission to ensure Illinois citizens are safe from harm’s way. As always, we stand ready to answer the call for additional support if needed.”

This is serious. Protect yourself and your home.

Stay in tune with the weather situation and find out more on what to do before, during and after a weather emergency at ready.illinois.gov.

By the way, Tom Skilling will be one of the presenters at two free Tornado and Severe Storms Seminars on Saturday, April 30 in Batavia. The 31st Annual Fermilab/WGN-TV event is free; seating is first-come, first-served, so get there early. You might even score a free NOAA Weather Radio.

What: Tornado and Severe Storms Seminars

When: Saturday, April 30 at noon and again at 6 p.m.

Where: In the Ramsey Auditorium of the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, Kirk Road and Pine Street, Batavia

Cost: Free!

Visit: ChicagoWeatherCenter.com for more information

Categories: Education, Featured

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