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Red Cross Responds to Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

News Release

Media contact: 

Joy Squier, Chief Communications Officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

312-907-0520 (24/7 Media Line) | | 

American Red Cross Responds to Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in Chicago & Northern Illinois

Download the Free Red Cross Emergency App to Help Stay Safe 

CHICAGO, IL (February 28, 2017) - Severe thunderstorms have hit the Chicago & Northern Illinois region and two tornados touched down in LaSalle County. The American Red Cross is working in collaboration with emergency management agencies and communities to provide disaster relief through sheltering, canteen/feeding, and mental health services.

The Red Cross is helping set up a shelter and providing canteen services at Ottawa High School at 211 E Main St, Ottawa, IL 61350, as well as helping set up a reception center at Waltham School at 248 W Canal St, North Utica, IL 61373.

The Red Cross urges residents to take steps to stay safe. Storms are expected through the course of the night. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe weather by:

Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App: The Red Cross Emergency App provides people with instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information. Available for smart phones and tablets, it includes content on what to do before, during and after a variety of severe weather events. Users can customize more than 35 emergency weather alerts based on their location and where loved ones live. 

Other features include:

  • “Make a Plan” helps families figure out what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes;
  • Preloaded emergency preparedness content is available in English And Spanish and can be accessed without mobile connectivity;
  • “Family Safe” allows people to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster; and
  • A real-time map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information.

The app is available in app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to

Heeding Storm Warnings: A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the designated area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.  Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

For more information on what to do before, during and after severe weather, people can go to

About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties in Northern Illinois including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at or visit us on Twitter at @ChicagoRedCross.