While spring is often referred to as “tornado season” in Illinois, tornadoes can strike at any time of the day or night and in any month of the year. At 4:56 a.m. on Feb. 29, 2012, a deadly tornado struck the Southern Illinois towns of Harrisburg and Ridgway while many people were still sleeping. Eight people were killed and more than 100 others were injured. Several survivors credited weather alert radios for warning them of the approaching hazard and giving them time to seek shelter before the tornado struck.
Receiving timely warnings of approaching severe weather, especially at night, is critical. That’s why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) recommend homes and businesses have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radio with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology.
The NWS broadcasts weather advisories, watches and warnings when severe weather is approaching or expected. The broadcasts cannot be heard on a simple AM/FM radio receiver. There are many receiver options, ranging from handheld portable units that just pick up weather alert radio broadcasts, to desktop and console models that receive weather alert radio as well as other broadcasts.
Weather radio alert features include:
You can buy receivers at many retail outlets, including electronics, department, pharmacies, sporting goods, and boat and marine accessory stores and their catalogs. They can also be purchased via the Internet from online retailers or directly from manufacturers.
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