For day 4 of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we are discussing how to prepare for wind and hail. McDonough County is expected to experience a minimum of three thunderstorms per year that produce damaging winds and one per year that produces damaging hail, with every part of the county being vulnerable to these events. To help you prepare, below are some fast facts on the impact that these events have had on the county:

  • June is the month with the most storms that produce damaging winds.
  • April is the month when severe hail is the most likely to occur.
  • The highest recorded wind speed in McDonough County is 95 knots (109 mph).
  • Thunderstorms and damaging winds have caused over $5,000,000 in crop damages between 1970-2020. 
  • Macomb has had the most verified high wind and hail events when compared to the rest of McDonough County – 79 thunderstorm and high wind events and 31 hail events. 
    • The next closest municipality is Bushnell, with 27 thunderstorms, high winds, and four hail events. 

On June 29th, 2023, McDonough County experienced a Derecho or straight-line winds, causing over $600,000 in damages.

Now that we have those facts, how can you stay safe and prepared for these events?

 

High Winds:

  • Trim tree branches away from your house and power lines.
  • Secure loose gutters and shutters.
  • Identify an interior room in your home that you can shelter in.
  • If you live in a mobile home, identify a sturdy building that you can go to if a high wind warning is issued.
  • Charge batteries of all essential items in case of a power outage.
  • Make a list of items outside your home that you will need to tie down or put away in the event of a high wind warning. 

Hail:

    • If possible, get your vehicle into a garage or other sheltered area to prevent damage.
    • Keep pets indoors.
    • If you are driving- pull into a gas station or other covered structure.
      • If this is not possible, angle your vehicle so that hail hits the reinforced windshield and not the side or back windows.
    • Close and secure curtains to prevent broken glass from being blown into the home if a window breaks.
    • Consider investing in impact-resistant shingles or storm shutters to protect glass surfaces.