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Be prepared for the potential of severe spring weather

The City of Park Ridge and the Park Ridge Park District want residents to be prepared for potential severe weather this spring.  There are a number of severe weather hazards that affect Illinois, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, floods, damaging winds and large hail. Severe weather hazards have the potential to cause extensive property damage, injury, and/or death.


Tornadoes are Mother Nature’s most violent storms with rotating winds that can exceed 300 miles per hour.  Spawned from thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood within a matter of seconds. It is most common for tornadoes to occur in our portion of the country from late spring to early summer. Many times, there is little or no advance warning. Be alert and be prepared. Look for changing weather conditions.  Signs of a tornado may include a dark, greenish sky, large hail and a large, dark, low lying cloud with possible rotation.  A tornado sounds similar to the roar of a freight train.


Your safety is our top priority. Our parks, athletic fields, pools, golf and baseball facilities, outdoor parks and property are protected by Thor Guard from April to November. The Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System consists of sensors within the City of Park Ridge that measure electrostatic charges at ground level and in the atmosphere. When conditions indicate that a lightning occurrence is probable, alarm horns provide an 8-12 minute warning to clear areas and seek shelter.  Warning Horn will sound a 15 second blast when a potentially dangerous weather situation is approaching. Clear the area immediately and seek proper shelter. Wait for the All Clear (three short blasts) to resume activities. You are also reminded to use your best judgment when severe weather arises.  Even if the Thor Guard system does not sound, you should leave the park and seek shelter if you feel it is warranted.


The alarm horns are at Maine East High School, North Park, Northwest Park (Franklin School), Oakton Pool, Woodland Park, Ni-Ridge Park, Jefferson/Emerson School site, Hodges Park, Northeast Park (Field School), Maine Park, Carpenter School, Hinkley Park, Centennial Park (Lincoln/Washington Schools), Maine South High School, South Park (Roosevelt School), Jaycee Park, Brickton Park and Southwest Park.  The Park Ridge Park District maintains the Thor Guard lightning system.


How can you prepare? Build an emergency kit.  Make a family communication plan. Have a designated “safe place” in your home. Listen to a NOAA weather radio, your local radio newscast, or sign-up for weather alerts on your smart phone.  For more information, visit  Severe Weather Preparedness booklets are available in the foyer at City Hall.

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