Southern Ill. county deemed ‘Storm Ready’

Severe weather happens year round in the Heartland. That means communities have to be prepared for whatever heads their way
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 11:57 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2023 at 5:18 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - A southern Illinois county was deemed storm ready on Friday, April 14.

On Friday morning, Hamilton County received official recognition from the National Weather Service and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

The National Weather Service began the accreditation program in 2000. To get the certification, communities have to meet certain weather-related safety criteria. That means they are prepared to get important weather information out to the people of Hamilton County.

“Ultimately, we’re there to preserve life, property and whatever we can do for that so,” said Ashton Middendorf, assistant director of EMA Hamilton County.

Middendorf was all smiles as he helped lead Hamilton County to becoming storm ready.

“Just being prepared. Being prepared and knowing what you’re going to do if a situation were to arise where there’s a tornado coming for us, knowing what you’re going to do, knowing where your shelters are, just having an action plan,” said Middendorf.

The people of Hamilton County can experience tornadoes, flooding, snow and ice storms. The National Weather Service has requirements of how certain communities can become storm ready.

“A lot of the questions have to deal with how do you receive information, not only warnings but also prep, before the storms happen. How are you getting information about the forecast and how are you keeping in contact with the National Weather Service and getting all the information they can about what is going to happen and then having a way to send that back out to people in the county,” said Christine Wielgos, warning coordination meteorologist with NWS Paducah.

Wielgos said this award brings awareness to the community.

“I think people ignore weather, I think, well I’ll just kind of deal with it when it gets to me kind of thing; and really the best way to survive most weather events, I don’t care what it is, is making sure you’re prepared and you understand your risk, understand you’re vulnerable and know what you have to do to prepare,” said Wielgos.

The EMA group in Hamilton County hopes their community stays aware or potential weather risk.

“We’re connecting with our community partners and making sure that they’re ready, making sure that storm ready also helps us kind of think about our plans and realize what our plans are,” said Middendorf.

The National Weather Service began the accreditation program back in 2000. There are a 157 storm ready communities in Illinois.

For more information about being storm ready, you can find that information here.