Information adapted from
McDonough County has a 49% chance for a tornado to touch down during any given year, with a 10% chance that more than one tornado will touch down in one year. Although we see most tornadoes during late Spring and early Summer, it is important to remember that tornadoes can take place at any time during the year. To stay prepared, keep the following information in mind:
  • How to Prepare:
      • Check the forecast regularly and listen for local tornado sirens. To keep updated, you can sign up for notifications here
      • Understand your risk: The peak tornado months for the county are May and June. 
      • Create a communications plan! For guidance, see our day 1 of Severe Weather Preparedness Week post. 
      • Prepare your home. If you don’t have a safe room, identify which room in the home will give you the most protection. It should be an interior room with no windows, on a lower level if possible. 
      • Practice your plan: It is important to practice getting to these designated safe areas. This helps with knowing how pets will respond, if young children know where to go, or even how long it will take you and your family to get there. 
  • Safety during the tornado: 
      • If you are at work or school, go to the designated tornado safe rooms. Do not go into a large open space like a cafeteria, gymnasium, or auditorium. 
      • If you are outside, seek shelter inside of a sturdy building. Sheds and storage facilities will not offer safety. 
      • If you are in your vehicle, drive to the closest shelter. If this is not possible, get down in your car and cover your head or abandon your car and seek shelter in a low lying area like a ditch. 
  • Safety after a tornado:
    • Stay informed through the local news or a weather radio to stay updated about any other upcoming weather.
    • Connect with your family and loved ones. Text messages and social media may connect and send more easily than phone calls. 
    • Assess the damage of your property after the threat of tornadoes has ended. Contact local authorities if you see downed power lines and stay out of damaged buildings. Be aware of insurance scammers if your property has been damaged.