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Now is the time to prepare for severe spring storms

Edgar Rodriguez and Maddie Hanus have some tips on preparing for severe weather.
Rich Egger
Edgar Rodriguez and Maddie Hanus have some tips on preparing for severe weather.

Severe spring weather in the tri states can mean a variety of things, such as tornadoes, lightning, and flooding from heavy rainfall.

Edgar Rodriguez and Maddie Hanus say now is the time to create a plan in case such storms hit.

Rodriguez is Director of the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency for McDonough County, while Hanus is a Western Illinois University student majoring in Emergency Management and an intern at ESDA.

Hanus said it’s important to create a plan for your family.

“You have to think about, how am I going to reach my family if we get separated? What are we going to do when there’s a severe storm?” Hanus said.

“Discuss how you’re going to keep in touch. Where you’re going to meet up. Make it specific to you and your family and your needs.”

She said it’s a good idea to print copies of emergency plans for family members because storms can potentially knock out cellular and online services.

Rodriguez recommended choosing a place in town where family members would meet in the event power and cell service are interrupted, and he suggested preparing an emergency kit

“We recommend at least a week worth of nonperishable food,” he said, adding it’s also good to have bottled water and extra flashlights on hand.

“We don’t expect you tomorrow to drop thousands of dollars on emergency preparedness. Just build up to it.”

McDonough County residents can use the county’s ESDA website to sign up for emergency alerts.

Rodriguez said his agency and the National Weather Service will host a storm spotter class on Tuesday, March 5, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the 4-H Center, 3028 W. Jackson St. in Macomb. It’s free and open to the public.

Rodriguez said they rely on observations from local spotters to warn the community about approaching storms.

“We have a really good group of spotters here in our area,” he said.

He said Hancock County will also host a storm spotter class. It will be held on Wednesday, March 13, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at The Legacy Theater, 1160 Buchanan St. in Carthage.

Illinois and Missouri are observing Severe Weather Preparedness Week this year from March 4 –8.

In Iowa, it will be observed from March 25-29.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.