No time of year is free from tornadoes, but in Illinois they are most likely to occur during the months of April, May and June. Since 1950, all counties in Illinois have experienced tornadoes. Illinois has averaged 31 tornadoes per year since 1950, but in 1974 there were 107 sited! 50% of all tornadoes occur between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., but they can strike at any time of the day or night. They are most likely to happen in the late afternoon on hot, spring days. Knowing the basics of tornado safety can help you to survive.
Watch vs. Warning
- A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that severe weather is possible.
- A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that severe weather is in the immediate area. In either case, listen to the radio or television for updates.
- A Tornado Watch means that conditions are present that could produce a tornado.
- A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted, and that you should prepare to seek shelter.
Testing: From March through October the sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. for a duration of about 1 minute.
Activation: If the Village of Hoffman Estates is threatened by a tornado, the sirens will be activated for a duration of about 3 minutes. The location, design and performance of the siren system is intended to provide a warning to people outdoors, to take cover. The sirens are not designed to provide warning to building occupants. Any "ALL CLEAR" information is provided by the local news media. The sirens will NOT be activated to indicate an "ALL CLEAR".
The National Weather Service can alert the public to the potential of severe weather more efficiently than ever. Keep tuned to the radio or the Weather Channel.
* Please do NOT call 911 when you hear the siren. The area media and the National Weather Service will provide updated information. Please use your television or radio to get these updates.
Know Where To Go!
If a tornado has been sighted, take cover in the safest place possible. A basement is always the first choice.
Building with a basement. Go to the basement. Stay away from windows and chimneys. Hide under the stairs or heavy furniture. Cover your head.
Building without a basement. Go to the lowest level in the central portion of the building. The first choice is in an interior closet or hallway, away from windows. Cover your head. In all cases you should have a flashlight and a battery operated radio with you. Keep your keys with you. They can disappear in a tornado.
Shopping Center or Large Building. Look for a pre-designated shelter. If you don’t see one, go to the middle hallway on the lowest level. Cover your head.
Mobile Home or Car. Leave at once and find shelter in a building. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or culvert with your hands over your head.
Following these steps can minimize the possibility of death or injury during severe weather. As we enter the warmer months of spring, share these tips with your families, and practice a tornado drill in your home this week.