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How to brace for coming storms in the midwest

Although the midwest and northeast have seen bigger storms, residents of these regions should still prepare to keep safe through Sunday and Monday’s rain, hail, and winds.

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    Clouds pass over Manteno, Ill., Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010, as a storm producing high winds passes through the area.
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A cold front may lead to heavy thunderstorms with as much as an inch of rain, high winds up to 60 miles per hour, and large hail from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast late Sunday to Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier this summer, President Obama urged Americans to avoid “complacency” in the face of a hurricane season that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has called “near normal.”

“It is every citizen’s responsibility to be prepared for a disaster,” Obama said in a meeting with Homeland Security and FEMA workers on May 31. "And that means taking proactive steps, like having an evacuation plan and having a fully stocked disaster supply kit. If your local authorities ask you to evacuate, you have to do it. Don't wait."

NOAA has released an advisory of a “slight risk of severe thunderstorms” with a 2 percent probability of tornadoes around Illinois, and a 5 to 15 percent chance of high winds and hail in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.

The Department of Homeland Security has a web page dedicated to hurricane preparedness that covers what to do at each step of the process, from pre- to post-storm. But it also has tips that will keep complacency at bay for those enduring milder weather – such as rain, wind, and hail – during thunderstorms:

• Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. The kit should include food, water, and other supplies that last at least 72 hours and should prepare for electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephone cut-offs and outages.

• Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall during hard rain and hail or fast winds.

• Postpone outdoor activities.

• Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.

• Get inside a home, building, or hard-top vehicle. It is a myth that rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide protection from lightning, but the steel frame of a hard-roofed vehicle can provide increased protection if you are not touching metal.

• Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.

• If you find yourself outside without shelter during a thunderstorm, in a forest, seek shelter under a thick growth of small trees; in an open area, go to a ravine or valley and be alert for flash floods; and in open water, get to land quickly.

After the thunderstorm, temperatures are expected to reach 90 degrees by Thursday or Friday.  

"Anybody that's out and about running around is going to have to limit their exercise because of the heat," Tony Zaleski, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Chanhassen, Minn., told AP, explaining that these temperatures are 10 to 12 degrees above the normal temperature for this time of year.

Material from AP was used in this report.

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