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In Illinois, Severe Weather takes the Spotlight in March

As we head into spring, we will start to see severe storms--thunderstorms, tornadoes--in St. Charles. Already there have been reports of tornadoes touching down in our area. It’s a good idea to know what to do before the weather turns bad. A couple of terms that are important to know:

Watch – Severe weather is possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued.

Warning - Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. The St. Charles Emergency Management Agency uses a combination of both trained severe weather spotters as well as radar monitoring in the City’s Emergency Operations Center.

Safety Tips

  1. Have more than one way to receive weather alerts. Sirens are an outdoor warning system designed to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching. The City’s tornado warning sirens may not be heard when you are indoors. Noise associated with the storms may diminish the ability to hear outdoor warning sirens inside. And, now that homes are more energy efficient and air tight, the ability to hear the warning sirens inside is further diminished. 
  2. For alerts indoors, every home and business should have a NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radio is like a smoke detector for severe weather. It can even wake you up when a warning is issued for your area so you can take appropriate action. There also are many cell phone apps that can keep you informed about dangerous weather, even when traveling. 
  3. Pick a safe place in your home to gather during severe weather away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. The safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement, or in a small interior room like a closet or bathroom, away from outside walls and windows. 
  4. Do not drive through a flooded area. Your vehicle could get stuck or swept away.
  5. Do not walk through flooded areas/flowing water. Six inches of flowing water can knock you off your feet.
  6. Keep children away from flood waters, ditches, culverts and storm drains. Flood waters can carry dangerous items and may suck smaller people into culverts or drains.
  7. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires, and turn off your power before it floods. Do not touch any electrical devices if you are wet or standing in water.

More is at or contact St. Charles Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Chmura at 630.762.7091 or

created Mar 01, 2023 updated Apr 25, 2023