[State of Illinois - Ready Illinois] Weather Alert Radio Contest

While severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding are more common during the spring and early summer months, they occur in every month of the year and at all hours of the day and night. Severe storms and tornadoes at night are particularly deadly because many people are sleeping and unaware of developing weather hazards.

According to the National Weather Service, nearly 30 percent of all tornadoes in Illinois occur after dark. Warnings broadcast over TV and radio stations and outdoor warning sirens generally are not as effective for alerting people to hazards while they sleep.

Fourteen people died in Illinois as a result of driving across flooded roads in 2015. This was the highest annual number of flood fatalities since records have been kept. Weather alert radios also can alert you to flood warnings in your area. If you encounter a flooded roadway, remember the life-saving phrase, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.

The National Weather Service and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people 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. The National Weather Service broadcasts watches, warnings, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day.

SAME technology allows you to program your radio to receive alerts for your county or area. When an alert is issued for your area, your weather alert radio will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message. Similar to a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, the weather alert radio can alert you to approaching danger even as you sleep and provide time for your family to go to a safe place.

Besides weather information, the National Weather Service 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.

Weather alert radios can be purchased at most hardware and department stores as well on through companies on the Internet.

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