This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in central Illinois. I don't want to say I started Chambana Weather out of fear - but it isn't far off from the truth. My biggest fear is that one day the inevitable is going to happen, and Champaign-Urbana will be impacted by a significant tornado. The morning of the tornado outbreak on November 17th 2013 that impacted places like Washington, IL and Gifford, IL was the most unsettled I have been while forecasting a severe weather event. It was so obvious that someone somewhere was going to be hit by a significant tornado, and I literally paced the kitchen feeling helpless at the thought of not being able to warn every possible person in the area. Now granted, warning every human in central Illinois prior to a potential severe weather event is not likely achievable for me alone - but the idea of Chambana Weather was born. Beyond forecasting the daily weather - I wanted a forum where I can educate and motivate the local community to take action when adverse weather threatens.
The National Weather Service has provided some fantastic material for Severe Weather Preparedness Week - and today's topic focuses on what you can do before, during, and after a severe weather event. The biggest thing that I can stress - is to HAVE A PLAN. Don't wait until you see a tornado bearing down on your home to sit down and draw up a plan with your family or co-workers. Do you have a reliable source for severe weather warnings (if your answer is this Facebook page, keep looking!), do you know what to do if a warning is issued, do you know what to do if a tornado actually impacts your neighborhood? The 2016 severe weather season is still a mystery for us here in central Illinois - let's work together to keep it from becoming a tragic one. We can't stop Mother Nature, but we can be ready when she comes knocking.