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Our view: Be ready for winter weather

Don’t be fooled by the recent spate of unseasonably warm weather.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service want you to become prepared for winter storms.

Sounds like excellent advice to us.

Some people may point to last winter’s mild weather as a reason to pay little heed to the season.

Let us point to the winter before last as a huge reason to get ready now.

December 2010 was rough. The region received more than 4 inches of snow on Dec. 4, blizzard-like conditions on Dec. 12, and another 4 inches on Dec. 20. Later that winter, a blizzard ripped through the county in February 2011, dumping more than 20 inches of snow on the region and shutting down entire communities.

Statistics show that Illinois is hit by an average of five severe winter storms a year. Slippery winter roads in Illinois account for 50 traffic fatalities a year. Extreme cold kills about eight Illinoisans a year.

The point is that nasty, dangerous weather could again descend on McHenry County any time now. Preparedness is better than being caught unawares.

Officials with the Emergency Management Agency, Weather Service and American Red Cross have again developed a winter storm preparedness guide. It is available online at www.Ready.Illinois.gov; people may also get a copy by calling 217-785-9925.

The guide provides tips for staying safe at home, in the car, at work and at school in the event of severe winter weather.

Of particular interest are the emergency supply kits that the guide recommends people put together for their vehicles and homes. Those could end up being life savers.

People lulled into a false sense of security by last year’s mild winter might wonder what all the fuss is about.

Jonathon Monken, IEMA director, will have none of that. “Dangerous winter weather, like extreme cold, heavy snow and ice, is just around the corner,” Monken stated in a news release. That corner is dead ahead.

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