Severe Weather Preparedness Week brings important reminders - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Severe Weather Preparedness Week brings important reminders

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LINCOLN, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Illinois is no stranger to Severe Weather.

That's why the National Weather Service has this Week set aside for Severe Weather Preparedness; and things are a little different this year.

Tornadoes used to be the main priority of Severe Weather Preparedness Week; now other elements of Mother Nature are as well.

Ed Shimon, a central Illinois Meteorologist with the National Weather Service sat down with 25 Weather Tracker Meteorologist Jesse Guinn to discuss Severe weather.

"Mother Nature doesn't care what time of the year it is," said Shimon.

Shimon said tornado fatality rates are actually down, but flooding deaths are up.

Shimon added in regards to flooding that many say "oh, it's just flooding; it's not a big deal." Adding that it also often "happens at night where people are driving through areas where they can't see that the road is flooded and it's washed out, and they end up ... getting in a situation where they can't survive."

Lightning is also responsible for many fatalities.

It happens in all Thunderstorm cells, not just severe ones.

While on the topic of Severe Thunderstorms, it is good to review the difference between a general Thunderstorm and a Severe Thunderstorm.

Severe criteria means a storm has winds of 58 mph or higher or hail measuring one inch or greater.

Something else to review, the difference between a watch and a warning, which is essential to being prepared for severe weather.

A watch simply means the day is setting up where severe weather is possible and that you should be on alert and ready to take action.

A warning means the severe activity is happening and it's time to take action!

Knowing the difference, could save your life.

Despite warnings, many still take severe Thunderstorms for granted, but that can be deadly.

"Straight-line wind damage can cause ... injuries and fatalities as well," added Shimon. "It's the debris that causes a lot of loss of life, and hundred mile an hour winds can come from a downburst sometimes."

A downburst is simply a rush of air that hits the surface and then quickly travels outward along the surface.

It serves as just one example of how a Severe Thunderstorm Warning could mean extreme danger.

We will keep you up to date as Severe Weather Preparedness Week continues.

Don't forget to download the 25 Weather Tracker mobile app to get important weather alerts sent directly your phone.

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