With threat of flooding looming on the horizon for the southern parts of the state, McHenry County EMA and the National Weather Service remind you to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”! More information is available at the NOAA’s flood safety page.

June 16, 2015

Patti Thompson (IEMA) 217-557-4756
Carson Quinn (IDOT) 312-814-4693
Chris Young (IDNR) 217-557-1240

More Heavy Rain Expected this Week Raises Flood Concerns

SPRINGFIELD – With more heavy rains expected to fall later this week on already saturated ground, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today urged Illinois residents to stay safe around flood waters.

In addition, IEMA today conducted a conference call with local emergency managers throughout Illinois to coordinate preparedness efforts for potential river flooding.

IDOT is monitoring weather conditions and will continue to respond as necessary to any flooding situations that may occur. IDOT urges motorists to be alert for the possibility of standing water on roads.

“It only takes a few moments for your vehicle to be swept away by flooding,” said Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “If you come across a flooded section of road, turn around. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads; it’s not worth the risk.”

Driving tips during flooding situations include:

  • Never attempt to drive through flooded roads.
  • Even if a road covered by water seems shallow enough to cross, do not attempt to cross it.
  • Seek higher ground if your vehicle stalls in a flooded area; do not attempt to push your vehicle out of the water.

IEMA Director James K. Joseph urges people to keep their children and themselves away from flood waters.

“Too often, we hear about children playing in flood waters being swept away by fast-moving currents, sometimes with tragic results” said Joseph. “Flood waters also may contain sewer overflows or harmful chemicals, so it’s particularly important to stay out of flood waters.”

Additional flood safety tips include:

  • Avoid skin contact with sewer water, especially cuts and sores.  Keep them clean and covered.
  • Do not eat or drink anything exposed to sewer water.
  • Keep contaminated objects, water and hands away from mucous membranes (mouth, eyes and nose).
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after bathroom use, before eating and immediately following contact with sewer water or contaminated objects or surfaces.

Joseph also noted that anyone who experiences flooding in their home should notify their insurance company.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) encourages boaters to stay off the water when river levels rise.

“When rivers rise, conditions can be extremely hazardous to recreational boaters, and we strongly urge boaters to stay off the water,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. “Submerged debris, strong currents and other dangerous conditions may exist. Even the most experienced boaters can get into trouble in conditions like these. Please play it safe and observe all river closures.”

For more safety information and updates on the current situation, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or check out Ready Illinois on Facebook and Twitter.



The ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest is available on the Ready Illinois website at ready.iIllinois.gov. The contest will run from April 22 – May 22. This is the third time IEMA and IESMA have sponsored the statewide contest.

“It’s important for people to have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, particularly at night when most of us are sleeping,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Weather alert radios will sound a tone when a warning has been issued for your area and give you information about the approaching hazard. Similar to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, a weather alert radio can give you precious time to take safety precautions.”

A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz​. Winners will be announced in late May. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.

“IESMA is excited to team up with IEMA for this valuable awareness contest,” said IESMA President Kevin Sargent. “Each region of the state is affected by some type of extreme weather each year. This year is no exception with the tornado outbreak in central and northern Illinois earlier this month. IESMA believes many lives are saved each year by people being able to receive severe weather warnings from NOAA weather alert radios. Please take time to participate in this contest for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be given away.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials encourage individuals and businesses to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

More information about severe weather preparedness also is available at ready.illinois.gov.


May 4, 2015

SPRINGFIELD – While every home should have a disaster preparedness kit and family communications plan, emergency preparedness is particularly important for households with members who have disabilities, functional needs or may need assistance during an emergency.

Throughout May, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will highlight information and tips to help people and their caregivers be better prepared for emergencies.

“An ice storm, tornado or other disaster can leave people without power, heat or water for several days,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “For those who may need some type of assistance, these conditions can be even more dangerous if they aren’t prepared.”

Joseph said the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov) offers preparedness information for people with visual, cognitive or mobility impairments; people who are deaf or hard of hearing; those who utilize service animals or life support systems; and senior citizens.

The Ready Illinois website also includes more than two dozen preparedness videos in American Sign Language (ASL) with full captioning. ASL is a natural, visual, non-spoken language extensively used within and among the deaf community.

The videos cover such topics as how to make a household emergency plan, build an emergency supply kit, plan for evacuation and sheltering in place and preparedness for specific hazards, such as tornadoes, severe storms and floods.

In addition to the Ready Illinois website, preparedness tips for people with access and functional needs will be highlighted throughout May atwww.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and at twitter.com/ReadyIllinois​


“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets. Your preparedness efforts today can help keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe when disaster strikes.” (IEMA Press Release)

Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:

  • At least a three-day supply of food and water
  • Extra supplies of pet medicines
  • Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
  • Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
  • Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
  • Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
  • Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
  • Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency

If it’s necessary for you to evacuate your home during a disaster, take your pets with you. An evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.

It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Check out the video below for more information!

Getting in touch with your loved ones immediately after a disaster is a natural reaction and usually a very good idea. But what is the best way to do that?

Simple: Text First, Talk Second!

After a disaster, there is usually a surge of phone calls in and out of the affected area. This inevitably causes wireless services to become overloaded to the point of being unusable. Overloaded networks can prevent 911 calls from getting through and can cause communications problems for emergency personnel that is responding to the incident.

A single phone call uses same amount of cell service resources as several hundred text messages. Meaning, a text message has a much greater chance of getting out, even if the network is unusable for voice calls. Using text messaging will also conserve valuable network resources so that they can be used for life saving efforts. This is why you should always use text messaging first and save the phone calls for later; after wireless networks have had a chance to recover from the initial surge.

Your family should have a communication plan on how to get in touch with each other when disaster strikes. The plan should include cell, work or school numbers of each family member, as well as out-of-town contact. You can use this template for the Family Emergency Plan to get started as well as these Wallet Cards to keep all the important info handy at all times. Remember to include Text First, Talk Second in your plan!

In the recent press release, Illinois Emergency Management Agency encouraged everyone to “Text First, Talk Second” along with providing several other ways to stay in touch with your loved ones in case of an emergency.


Source: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/
Keli Pirtle, NOAA Public Affairs, Noon CST, March 17, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. During a month when severe weather typically strikes, this March has been unusually quiet, with no tornado or severe thunderstorm watches issued by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center so far. And, National Weather Service forecasters see no sign of dramatic change for the next week at least.

“We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather”, said Greg Carbin, SPC’s warning coordination meteorologist. “This has never happened in the record of SPC watches dating back to 1970.”

Since the beginning of 2015, the SPC has issued only four tornado watches and no severe thunderstorm watches, which is less than 10 percent of the typical number of 52 tornado watches issued by mid-March. The approximately 20 tornadoes reported since January 1 is well below the 10-year average of 130 for that time period.

There is no one clear reason to explain the lack of tornadoes, Carbin said. “We’re in a persistent pattern that suppresses severe weather, and the right ingredients — moisture, instability, and lift — have not been brought together in any consistent way so far this year.”

Forecasters expect a change soon, however. April and May are typically the busiest months for severe weather and tornadoes. Patterns can change in a few days, Carbin said, and it’s important to be prepared for severe weather when it occurs.

Analysis of the ten lowest and ten highest watch count years through the middle of March reveals little correlation to the subsequent number of tornadoes through the end of June. For example, early 2012 was particularly active with 77 watches issued through mid-March. The subsequent period through the end of June was unusually quiet for tornadoes with about 130 fewer EF1 and stronger tornadoes occurring than what would normally be expected. On the other hand, 1984, with a relatively low watch count of 28 through mid-March, became more active and by late June had about 100 EF1 and stronger tornadoes above the long-term mean of 285.


Preparing for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods will not only benefit you during the spring and summer months, but all year round. In fact, almost half of all tornadoes reported in Illinois the past three years (2012-14) have occurred in fall or winter! We typically see the “peak” of severe weather season from April through June; however recent weather events have proven that we need to be “Weather Ready” in Illinois the entire year.

Illinois Tornado Facts

  • Illinois ranks fifth in the United States for the most tornadoes per square mile.
  • The majority of Illinois tornadoes have occurred between April 1 and June 30 and between the hours of 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. However, tornadoes have occurred every month of the year at all hours of the day.
  • Nearly 30 percent of all tornadoes in Illinois occur after dark.
  • There is an average of 47 tornadoes each year in Illinois.
  • There were 48 tornadoes reported in Illinois during 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops

In Illinois, since 1950:

  • 76 percent of tornadoes have been weak with wind less than 110 mph,
  • 22 percent of tornadoes have been strong with wind between 110-167 mph,
  • 2 percent of tornadoes have been violent with wind greater than 167 mph.
  • Two violent tornadoes occurred on November 17, 2013; one in Washington and one in New Minden.

The chances of being affected by a tornado may seem small, but if you are in a threatened area, act QUICKLY when the threat is confirmed.

See our Staying Informed pages on how to keep informed about severe weather.

McHenry County Emergency Management is proud to announce the 2015 Severe Weather Spotter Class brought to you in cooperation with the National Weather Service.
Severe storm spotters are a vital part of the warning process! The spotter training class is designed for people new to severe storm spotting, as well as those that need refresher training.

Class will cover:
– Basics of thunderstorm development
– Fundamentals of storm structure
– Identifying potential severe weather features
– Information to report
– How to report information
– Basic severe weather safety

Weather Spotter’s Field Guide available here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/SGJune6-11.pdf

Please note the location change for this year!

Space is limited and registration is required to attend.


Printable 2015 Spotter Class Flyer

Weather-Ready Action of the Month: Resolve to stay alert to dangerous weather! Make sure Wireless Emergency Alerts are enabled on your mobile phone. These alerts can save your life! If you haven’t turned them off, great! You’re already weather-ready! If you know you turned them off in the past or aren’t sure, go into your phone’s settings and check your notifications to make sure these alerts are turned on.

More information about Wireless alerts is available here: www.weather.gov/wirelessalerts

For more ways to stay informed check out “Staying INFORMED

StormReady County!

Live Weather Conditions

McHenry County Government Center, Woodstock, IL
Temp: 68.1 F (20.1 C) (20.1)
Humidity: 63%
Wind: From the SW at 14.4 MPH Gusting to 15.5 MPH
Station: KILWOODS11
Updated:October 21, 4:37 PM CDT
local forecast

Rivers and Streams – Live Data

Surface Water Levels for McHenry County
Site Name Gage Height (ft) Flood Stage (ft)

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  • Hydrologic Outlook issued November 24 at 3:28PM CST by NWS