Outdoors: Be cautious, our tornado season is upon us

This is the time of year when violent storms occur.

I well remember when I was employed at Caterpillar. One day when I was traveling from our Route 6 facility to the Mc Deonna Street Facility, I ran right into a tornado just as I passed over Route 80 on Larkin Avenue. That area was considered “Tornado Alley.” In my 35-year employment with Cat, I observed at least 10 tornados during that time.

There are certain ways to recognize a tornado, which starts with the conditions. Knowing these things could save your life. Warning signs include a dark sky with a green tinge. The storm can include very large hailstones. Dark low-lying rotating clouds. An enormous roaring sound, like a huge engine.

Most of the advice for surviving include: If you are going to try to get out of the area, move perpendicular to its direction of travel. Cover: try to get to shelter, which could include a restroom. That is a building within a building. Stay away from windows. If there is a basement, so much the better. Get into the lowest part of the shelter and get under a table. Stay at the southwest portion of the basement. Most of our storms come out of the southwest.

I was very lucky that day, as the town of Minooka had considerable damage, and the west side of Joliet had terrific damage. My fishing buddy must have had a guardian angel, as he and his wife went shopping. When they returned, their home was gone. They lived in Plainfield, which also had a lot of damage. My company provided a lot of heavy equipment to help clean up the mess.

I considered myself very lucky as I passed right under the tornado on Larkin Avenue when crossing Route 80. I taught school back then and had to travel from the B building facility to the F building facility, which both had classrooms. I fled from the parking lot to the building as hail pelted me all the way.

When I reached the building, I still has no idea of the damage that occurred. I didn’t find that out until I returned back to Building B on Route 6. There were downed trees and power lines all over. In fact, I had to take a different route back to Route 6 because of blocked roadways.

Hope these tips will save lives if one encounters a tornado during the next few weeks.

Hunting report

I do not have any information on Week 2 of the wild turkey season. By the looks of my hunting areas, there are not any turkeys near the Illinois River bottoms. That is where I used to always see them when I was fishing.

Fishing report

River fishing has been very poor. I even took a ride to the town of Peru to check out the lower portion of the Illinois River. There were no fishing boats near the Peru Flats or the area near Water Street. If anyone was catching fish, it had to be below Spring Valley and/or Hennepin. The Ottawa area was void of boats Sunday, which is very odd. I am assuming La Salle Cooling Lake is productive if the winds allow launching of boats.

Fred Krause

Fred is an avid outdoorsman who has been writing about his passion for decades.