Will County braces for heavy storms, possible tornado

An overcast sky in Joliet on Friday, March 31, 2023.

Emergency management officials are asking residents to stay safe and seek shelter in anticipation of severe storms that may bring tornados to Will County.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch that will be in effect until 10 p.m. on Friday for numerous counties, including Will County.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected for Friday evening and then pick up again on Saturday morning.

Allison Anderson, director of Will County Emergency Management Agency, said they have activated their emergency operation center and they are monitoring the weather.

“We’re watching this as it all unfolds,” Allison said.

Anderson said residents should find a safe shelter before the storms and make a plan before impact. She said they should also ensure their emergency kits are up to date.

When sheltering from a tornado, the emergency management agency recommends residents either move to their basement or to an interior room with no windows.

Anderson said the agency will send out damage assessment teams to measure the magnitude of any damage should the county become impacted by the weather.

She said there are two lines of storms moving into the area. The first line of storms may produce some hail and the second one may produce tornado-like winds, she said.

“We’re very conscious of that second line of storms coming in,” Anderson said.

Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English said their department will be conducted normal operations.

“We remind our citizens to stay vigilant and remain informed of the latest weather forecasts and alerts from their local news stations, weather apps, weather radios, or the National Weather Service,” English said.

Joliet Fire Chief Jeff Carey said their staff have received an hourlong class on tornado spotting and severe weather preparedness earlier this week. Each spring, they also review and train on the department’s mass casualty and disaster standard operating procedures.