In case of Sharknado! Weather Emergency Planning

This could be the weather on Memorial Day some year, you just never know.

Since we live in this unpredictable, crazy land called the Midwest, we need to know how to be prepared for whatever mother nature brings our way. In fact, with the recent uptick in extreme weather events around the entire country, it is a smart idea to have a weather emergency plan at the ready — no matter where you live.  

Per the usual in Central Illinois, we’ve seen about every season in just a month or so. One day it’s sunny and 75 and we are enjoying a cold one on the porch. Then, the next day, we’re digging out YakTraks to prepare for the ice storm rolling in.

Now, we know it's unlikely that a Sharknado will ever hit Champaign-Urbana, or anywhere for that matter. But, not much surprises us anymore when it comes to crazy and dangerous weather. It’s time to buckle down and just prepare for the worst.

Being prepared for an emergency situation due to weather conditions can mean the difference between life and death in some situations.

Make sure you and your family have a plan for when severe weather strikes. Whether it is a flood, tornado, or power outage, there are steps you can take to better prepare for an emergency.

First, talk with your family and come up with a solid plan. All members of your family should know what the plans is and what to do in each emergency situation. The following are examples of planning questions:
· What is the safest place in your home during a tornado?
· What is your family’s evacuation route during an emergency?
· Where should your family meet if anybody gets separated?

Once you have a plan for your family, put together an emergency kit. It’s important that everyone knows where the kit is kept and how to use the items in it.

Items to have in your emergency weather kit/go bag:
· AM/FM weather radio (battery, solar powered, or wind up)
· Batteries
· Compass
· Extra clothing
· First Aid kit
· Flashlight
· Candle and Matches
· Mess kit
· Non-perishable food
· Plastic storage bags
· Sleeping bag
· Soap
· Tent
· Utility knife
· Water/water filtration system
· Whistle
· Emergency cash and IDs
· Copies of insurance information

Once you have your emergency kit and plan ready, make sure to practice what you will do in the event you need to implement it. Review the plan and your kit once a year as a family.

Visit the FEMA website for complete information on how to prep for weather emergencies and other disasters.

Locally, visit the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency’s website for full lists of disaster kit supplies and advice on how to prepare for an emergency.

“If you don't like the weather in Illinois… just wait a day.”
–Literally every person in Illinois

Article originally posted June 27, 2018, updated April 2022.