“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

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V Press Release

CHICAGO – With the holidays fast approaching, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V office encourages everyone to consider giving gifts that will help protect their family members and friends during a future emergency.

“A gift to help prepare for emergencies could be life-saving for friends and family,” said FEMA Region V acting regional administrator, Janet Odeshoo. “These gift ideas provide a great starting point for being prepared for an emergency or disaster.”

Supplies for an emergency preparedness kit can make unique—and potentially life-saving—holiday gifts, such as:

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • A flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Solar-powered cell phone charger.
  • Smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detectors.
  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher and fire escape ladder.
  • Enrollment in a CPR or first aid class.
  • Books, coloring books, crayons and board games for the kids, in case the power goes out.
  • Personal hygiene comfort kit, including shampoo, body wash, wash cloth, hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
  • A waterproof pouch or backpack containing any of the above items, or with such things as a rain poncho, moist towelettes, work gloves, batteries, duct tape, whistle, food bars, etc.

Holiday shoppers might also consider giving a winter car kit, equipped with a shovel, ice scraper, emergency flares, fluorescent distress flags and jumper cables. For animal lovers, a pet disaster kit with emergency food, bottled water, toys and a leash is also a good gift.

The gift of preparedness might just save the life of a friend or family member. For more information, preparedness tips or other gift ideas, visit www.Ready.gov.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Original FEMA Press Release

As cold and snow begin in earnest across Illinois and Indiana, the National Weather Service, FEMA, IEMA, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Illinois and Indiana State Police, Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation and American Red Cross are encouraging everyone to begin preparing now for the cold and snowy months of winter. Let’s do our part to lead us toward a Weather Ready Nation.

The Chicago National Weather Service office will issue daily Public Information Statements (PNS) that will contain the following information:

Monday: Winter Hazards
Tuesday: Outdoor Safety
Wednesday: Winter Preparedness
Thursday: Winter Fire Safety
Friday: Winter Weather Travel Safety
Saturday: Winter Weather Reporting

Information will be on NOAA Radio, NWS websites, and NWS Facebook/Twitter pages.

Due to 2014 outbreak in West Africa and first confirmed case and fatality in the US, Ebola is getting a lot of news coverage. Below you will find links to various resources available from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as information from the McHenry County Department of Health regarding the Ebola Virus Disease.

For Individuals

For Health Care Providers

CDC Travel Advisories

Visit McHenry County Department of Health for more information

Just over the past weekend McHenry County experienced one of the first severe thunderstorms for this severe weather season. While the biggest impact from this weekend’s storm was hail, it could have been a lot more devastating.

It is almost as if Mother Nature was reminding us that severe weather is a very real danger and gave us one more chance to better prepare as individuals and as a community.

There are many things that we can do as individuals. If you already have an emergency kit and an emergency plan, this a great time to review your plan, update contact information and check expiration dates on your emergency kit supplies.

If you don’t have a plan and kit just yet, there is no better time than now to get started! It is much easier then you think! First, make a family emergency plan, then gather some basic emergency supplies and make sure that your family knows who to call if something happens.

Templates for a family emergency plan, emergency kit checklist and printable contact cards are all available on McHenryAware.com, your emergency information portal for McHenry County.

Being prepared as a family and as an individual is great, but we will only have true strength if our whole community is prepared. “Whole community means everyone in a community needs to be prepared for disasters, not just emergency response agencies” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Individuals, families, businesses, schools, faith-based groups and other community organizations should develop and practice emergency plans that address the needs of everyone in our community. This should include senior citizens, children, those with health concerns or disabilities, non-English speaking residents and others.”

Take a moment to discuss emergency preparedness at home, work, school and every other group that is part of your daily life. Knowing what to do when disaster strikes, no matter where you are, saves lives.

Don’t forget your friends, neighbors, elderly and individuals with functional needs. These vulnerable populations are usually more severely impacted when disaster strikes, so take a moment to find out if they have a plan and make sure that your community has included all those groups and individuals in the emergency planning.

StormReady County!

Live Weather Conditions

McHenry County Government Center, Woodstock, IL
Temp: 67.7 F (19.8 C) (19.8)
Humidity: 32%
Wind: From the ENE at 11.2 MPH Gusting to 14.7 MPH
Station: KILWOODS11
Updated:April 19, 12:31 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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