Protect Rural Communities from Life-Threatening Weather Conditions

Siren

Target: Ogle County EMA Coordinator Tom Richter

Goal: Establish county information line for weather-related emergencies.

Weather-related events are a common occurrence in the Midwestern United States, and even more common is the lack of information about them. Around midnight on Sunday, January 3, 2016 the residents of Ogle County, Illinois were startled out of bed by tornado sirens howling. Understandably, residents were worried and attempted to find specifics on the cause of the alarm. There was no threat and county officials blame the incident on a faulty electrical board, but that does not ease the anxiety of the citizens of Ogle County. This certainly wasn’t the first time tornado sirens had sounded without incident, but the previous spring things went differently.

On April 9, 2015, an EF4 tornado ravaged through Ogle County. Winds between 166-200 mph destroyed 30 local homes, including the home of Ogle County Sheriff Brian E. VanVickle. Although alerts sounded 27 minutes before the tornado hit and updates were posted on social media, many people were still unaware of the severity of the storm.

In rural areas such as these it is especially important to have some kind of information sharing network in place. Social media is certainly a valuable tool, but it should not be the primary means of communication. Whether pre-recorded or live, a telephone information line could provide details on current weather, travel conditions, school closings, and alerts. Please add your name to the letter below to urge Ogle County EMA Coordinator Tom Richter to develop a weather information line.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Richter,

It’s surprising that in the information age so little information can be available. Adverse weather is common and especially dangerous in rural Northern Illinois. This danger is compounded when information about conditions is not readily available to residents. Although radio and Internet options are available, the most effective method of delivery is via telephone line.

On April 9, 2015, an EF4 tornado ravaged through Ogle County. Winds from 166-200 mph destroyed 30 local homes, including the home of Ogle County Sheriff Brian E. VanVickle. Although alerts sounded 27 minutes before the tornado hit and updates were posted on social media, many people were still unaware of the severity of the storm.

For the safety and peace of mind of the residents of Ogle County, please establish a weather information line to be accessed 24 hours a day. Whether pre-recorded or live, a telephone information line could provide details on current weather, travel conditions, school closings, and alerts. This valuable service could not only be a convenience, but a life-saving tool.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ben Franske

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