Here are a few tips to help you prepare for central Illinois spring weather. Definitions and safety tips come from the National Weather Service. For more information see here.
From a school standpoint, please know it is extremely rare for us to cancel, postpone, or dismiss early due to spring weather. With this in mind, if you have significant concern over the ability of your child to get to and from school safely, please keep them home. Also, be sure to communicate this to Wendy in the office so we know your child is in a safe place. In most scenarios, it is best for all involved to do this for a full day rather than coordinating a late day pick-up.
Additional Items to Note
When making objective spring weather decisions, the most important tool we leverage is the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center. Our main consideration is the probability of a Tornado Warning being issued while kids are coming to and from school. The Storm Prediction Center organizes probability and risk into 5 categories.
Also, see below for a quick refresher on NWS watch/warning definitions.
Tornado Watch - Conditions are favorable for tornado development. A watch is intended to give you time to prepare.
Tornado Warning - A developing tornado has been detected by National Weather Service doppler radar or a reliable report of a tornado has been reported. A tornado warning is usually issued for portions of one or two counties, for an hour or less. The storm could also produce large hail and destructive straight line winds. If the tornado warning includes your neighborhood or work place, you should seek safe shelter immediately.
Please keep in mind, if a tornado warning is issued while school is in session, everyone on campus will shelter in place until the tornado warning has cleared. Also please know, people will not be allowed out of the building until the tornado warning has cleared. Throughout a tornado warning, the safest actions all of us can take are outlined below.
- In general, get as low as you can. A basement below ground level or the lowest floor of a building offers the greatest safety. Put as many walls between yourself and the outside as possible and stay as far away from windows as possible.
- If there is no basement, go to a small interior room, such as a closet, bathroom or an interior hall on the lowest level. Close all doors to the hallway for greater protection. If possible, get under something sturdy like a heavy table. Protect yourself from flying debris with pillows, heavy coats, blankets or quilts. If available, use bicycle or motorcycle helmets to protect your head.
- In mobile homes: leave well in advance of the approaching severe weather and go to a strong building. If there is no shelter nearby, get into the nearest ditch, low spot or underground culvert. Lie flat, covering your head with your hands for protection.
- In vehicles or outdoors: Find shelter in a ditch or remain in your vehicle and cover your head for protection. Do not take shelter under a highway overpass, where wind speeds can increase due to a tunneling effect.
- Remember, stay away from doors, windows, outside walls and be sure to protect your head!
We look forward to working together to help keep our kids safe while learning moves forward this spring.
Tim Farquer, Superintendent