Extreme Weather Preparedness

Are you ready for extreme weather?

Heavy rain, snow, tornadoes, excessive heat and cold: all of these forms of extreme weather occur in Illinois. Be prepared for these weather extremes will make such events less challenging, and in some cases may save lives.

Preparedness checklist

Don’t wait until the last minute to have what may be needed to get through extreme weather. Many others may be doing the same thing, and supplies may not be available. Monitor weather reports through weather apps, radio, or TV to know what may occur.

Many supplies are needed no matter what the event may be, and a few may be event specific. It may seem to be a waste to have things that may not get used, but you will appreciate having them when needed.

Basic preparedness supplies should include:

  • A minimum of 3 to 10 gallons of water per person in the household.
  • Canned and long lasting packaged food, including food/formula for infants and/or special foods for older individuals for (3 to 10 days for everyone in the household)
  • Manual can opener
  • Disposable plates and eating utensils
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • First aid kit which should have:
    • Bandages of various sizes
    • Children’s aspirin
    • Trauma pad
    • Gauze
    • First aid tape/elastic tape
    • CPR valve with face shield
    • Latex free exam gloves
    • Scissors
    • Plastic tweezers
    • Triple antibiotic ointment
    • Moistened towelettes
  • Medications
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Pet supplies
  • Tools to shut off utilities
  • Blankets, pillows
  • Radio
  • Whistle (in case you need to let others know where you are)
  • Cash (if power is out, you may need it)
  • Extra battery/emergency charging source for cell phones


Special considerations for weather preparedness

Avoid walking through rapid flowing water.

  • Six inches of fast flowing water can easily knock a person off their feet.
  • Less than 2 feet of fast flowing water can move a car.
  • Even rains of only 1-2 inches may cause flash flooding if the rain falls in a short period of time, especially in towns and cities.

When a tornado warning is posted for your area, go to your designated shelter area. 

  • Do not go outside to see if a tornado is near.

Have cold weather supplies (blankets, extra clothing, food, emergency phone charging) in your vehicle during the winter in case you get stranded in snow.

In extreme heat, may sure you drink plenty of water, and avoid over exertion.

  • If you start to feel nauseous or lightheaded, get into a cooler area if possible and remove excess clothing.
  • Drink sips of cool water or sports drinks.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you or others condition worsens.

During extreme cold, cover all parts of the body with clothing. 

  • Use a face covering to avoid breathing very cold air.
  • Limit being outdoors to no more that a few minutes unless you are healthy and have proper clothing.

If downed electrical lines have fallen on your vehicle or are nearby, stay in the vehicles! 

  • Call 9-1-1 if possible and wait for assistance.

Check preparedness supplies every few months and replace items that have expired.

  • Stay informed on extreme weather events by radio, phone or TV.

For more information, visit the Illinois Extension Disaster Resources.