Illinois Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds, and Tornadoes (DR-4157)

Incident period: November 17, 2013 to November 18, 2013
Major Disaster Declaration declared on November 26, 2013

Updates and Articles, Blogs, and News Releases

December 13, 2013
News Release
Springfield, Ill. –  To help entire communities recover from the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to make sure survivors with disabilities and those with functional needs have equal access to disaster assistance programs. To achieve this goal, FEMA coordinates efforts with state and local agencies and volunteer organizations to identify needs and locate appropriate resources. FEMA has a Disability Integration Advisor on site in Illinois to coordinate the various elements of the program.
December 12, 2013
News Release
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, along with partners from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are encouraging homeowners, renters and businesses to apply for low-interest disaster loans to help fund their losses. If Illinois residents apply for assistance with FEMA and are referred to the SBA, it’s important for them to submit a loan application to assure that the federal disaster recovery process continues and they keep their options open:
December 11, 2013
News Release
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Less than a month after tornadoes swept across Illinois, more than $1 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency grant assistance has been approved to help those affected by the storms. 1,632 people have contacted FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance.
December 11, 2013
News Release
Springfield, Ill. – While survivors of the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes are making repairs to or rebuilding their homes, assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be available to help pay for a warm, clean and safe place to stay during the cold winter months ahead.                                
December 10, 2013
News Release
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency and village officials in Diamond have announced that residents affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes can meet with disaster assistance specialists this week beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Diamond Village Hall.
December 10, 2013
News Release
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will be opening at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 in Rantoul to serve homeowners, renters and business owners who were affected by the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes. DRC services include help with applying for disaster assistance and finding out about other disaster programs available from the U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local agencies and voluntary organizations. Residents must apply with FEMA even if they already provided damage information to local officials, other agencies or organizations.

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Resolve to Recover 2014

The start of a new year often means making resolutions to better ourselves. Why not make a resolution that involves bettering your home as well—making it stronger and safer for you and your family?

As rebuilding continues in central and southern Illinois after the Nov. 17 tornadoes, keep in mind the tips and ideas below for making your recovery an opportunity to protect against future disasters.

Rebuild Safer, Stronger and Smarter 

  1. Reinforce your Residence. Consider retrofitting options, or steps to improve your home’s protection from natural disasters, including high wind events. One of the most common type of wind damage to a structure is called “uplift”—when a roof lifts and collapses back down on the house causing costly damage. Fortunately, you can minimize the chances of this happening by installing straps connecting the structural members of your roof to the wall studs or columns.

Other risk reduction ideas include:

  1. Use shingles rated for 90+ mph wind and use a minimum of four nails per shingle.
  2. Make sure windows and doors are properly shimmed and nailed into the framed opening, tying the window and door frames into the adjacent studs, and 
  3. Install a garage door that is designed for higher wind speeds.

FEMA recommends consulting with a certified home inspector to determine if these are viable options for your home.

Fortify those Floors. Homeowners can secure their structure to the foundation by using anchors or metal straps. Your builder should ensure there are anchor bolt connections between the plate and the foundation at least every four feet.  Ensure the bolts have nuts and washers to secure the sill plate to the foundation.  It’s also a good idea to use an exterior wood sheathing (either OSB or plywood) to prevent wind-borne debris from penetrating the walls of your home.

Consult with your local building code official as well as a certified home inspector to determine the best options for you.

Trim & Tighten. High velocity winds from thunderstorms and tornadoes can turn patio furniture, grills and tree branches into destructive missiles. If the area immediately surrounding your house contains trees, outbuildings, trash cans, yard debris, or other materials that can be moved by the wind, your house will more likely be damaged during a tornado or windstorm.

All storage sheds and other outbuildings should be securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors. The straps and ground anchors used for manufactured homes can be used for the anchoring systems for outbuildings, such as garden sheds, which are not placed on a permanent foundation. Outdoor furniture and barbecue grills can be secured by bolting them to decks or patios or by attaching them to ground anchors with cables or chains. Trees should also be trimmed so they’re at a safe distance away from your home.                    

  1. Elevation is a Smart Renovation. Flooding is a real risk in Illinois and elevating your home and its critical utilities can significantly reduce the risk of water damage. Elevating your home may even reduce your flood insurance premiums. Contact your local floodplain manager to learn the flood risk and elevation requirements for your residence. 
  2. Assure You’re Fully Insured. Take the time to review your insurance coverage. Are you adequately insured for the risks your community faces? Are you covered for wind, flood and sewer back-up? Has your policy been updated to reflect the value of your home? Many homeowners find out too late that their insurance coverage has not increased with the value of their home. Contact your insurance agent to get these questions answered and ensure your home is financially protected.
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