There is so much excitement as "SPRING IS IN THE AIR" for Illinois.  Most of us will soon have a lot of mowing, flower and vegetable gardens to tend to; plus all those projects we put off for warmer weather.  With additional work, spring brings baseball, outdoor recreational activities, and awesome family vacations.  We look so forward to this time of year so we can enjoy being outdoors.  As we gear up to enjoy warmer weather, the weather is also gearing up for spring! 

When thinking of spring, we immediately think TORNADO SEASON.  Unfortunately, we have experienced several tornados in Illinois during other times of the year.  At 12:04 pm on November 17, 2013, an EF4 touched down in the Southern Illinois town of New Minden killing 2 people and injuring 2 people.  There was major structural damage in this very small town.  Approximately one hour earlier on the very same day, an EF4 touched down in Washington IL killing 3 and injuring 125.  As with New Minden, Washington experienced severe structural damage and power outages.  They alone saw $935 million in damages. Another major out-of-season tornado was in the Southern Illinois towns of Harrisburg and Ridgeway.  At 1:34 pm on February 12, 2012, an EF4 hit killing 8 people and injuring 95.  Click here to read about the 5 worst tornado disasters in Illinois.

Tornados can happen at any time in Illinois, spring is definitely the time they are more frequent.  Other types of severe spring weather include flooding, severe thunderstorms, and high winds. 

John Dwyer, Champaign County Emergency Management (CCEMA) states floodwater is the highest cause of death when it comes to severe weather.  His mantra regarding flood safety is, "Turn around, don't drown."  This is a warning we should all heed this spring when approaching high water areas.  Other tips include:  Pay attention to the news/alerts, prepare an emergency disaster kit, and know where to seek shelter.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) also has wonderful information regarding being prepared for spring weather and what to do during and after a storm.  Click here to access their website.

Insurance Companies can help mitigate claims costs this spring by sharing tips with their policyholders.  Informing our insureds to take precaution on the roadway such as taking a different route when unsure about high water areas.  Another tip is to advise our insureds to park near a large building or use a car blanket if there is a threat of a hailstorm.  At home, we should take lightweight items in, secure larger items and clean our gutters often.

The best information we can pass on to our policyholders is anything relating to their safety.  Some of the best tips include paying attention to weather alerts, know where to go for shelter and to seek shelter immediately should the need arise.  Having an emergency kit containing a flashlight, cash/credit card, snacks, blanket, and first aid supplies is another benefit during severe weather.

As we look forward to the "Breath of Fresh Air" that spring brings, we have to be aware of the weather threats that come with it.  Our wish for "Spring 2019" is beauty and calm weather for all of us.