Emergency Services and Disaster Agency navigator...
The Galva Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) is an all-volunteer unit staffed by trained weather spotters under the capable leadership of Mr. Bob Johnson. Although the main focus of this "storm-ready" group of volunteers is inclement weather, Mr. Johnson is in the process of expanding his department's responsibilities to include assistance with all hazards.
Specifically, ESDA performs the following functions for weather related incidents, and where indicated, is expanding their capabilities to all hazards:
In addition to weather related preparedness activities, ESDA is developing action plans for all hazards to ensure effective coordination and enhancement of the City's capabilities before, during and after a catastrophic event. Preparedness activities include:
- The refinement of communication plans
- The coordination of emergency response teams
- The exercise of city-wide warning systems
- The verification of available emergency shelters
- The classification and tracking of emergency resources and stockpiles
Prevention includes the anticipation of needs and the act of avoiding or delaying damage or suffering. Examples of prevention activities include:
- Delivery of portable generators to the oxygen-dependent during power outages
- Advance warning of potentially dangerous situations
Mitigation involves efforts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters; or in the case of unavoidable misfortune, to reduce the effects of the catastrophe. Disaster mitigation includes:
- Communication of potential risks to the public (e.g., water contamination hazards, local travel risks, structural or damaged building perils)
- Acquiring and delivering assistance to those who have suffered personal losses due to physical or emotional injury and property damage
Response involves the mobilization of emergency services and resources. Response activities may include:
- The establishment of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
- The assignment and coordination of incident commanders, liaison and public information officers (PIOs), technical specialists and scribes; safety officers and EOC support services
- The analysis of the event, operations and resource coordination, and financial administration
Recovery involves the restoration of the affected area and can include:
Some 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage. StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, OK, helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property–before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.
No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives. Galva received StormReady certification on 16 June, 2005, and with recertification will maintain that certification through June of 2014.
For more on StormReady, view the slides below:
StormReady focuses on improving communication and preparedness within specific geographical boundaries such as villages, cities, counties and other types of communities such as hospitals and universities.
StormReady prepares communities for all severe weather - from tornadoes to tsunamis.
StormReady provides communities with detailed and clear guidance designed to improve their warning systems and preparedness programs.
Every year Americans lose their lives because they did not hear the warning; or if they heard the warning they did not heed it.
The National Weather Service and US Department of Commerce keeps and maintains Natural Disaster Survey Reports.
The Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak of 1994 killed twenty members of the Goshen United Methodist Church.
The Church did not receive the NWS tornado warning.
Many emergency management officials have no real-time access to National Weather Service warnings.
Additionally, even with large lead times, lives are lost because correct safety precautions are not taken.
The conclusion: taking safety precautions, when those precautions are not taken with the proper care, can and do lead to loss of life.
How does a community become StormReady?
By first establishing a communications channel that the NWS calls a "24 Hour Warning Point" which requires the establishment of an Emergency Operations Center capable of coordinating and those warnings.
The Operations Center must be capable of receiving critical and time-sensitive warning information via multiple communication channels and conduits. Those channels and conduits may consist of, but are not limited to, the following:
- NOAA Weather Radio
- NOAA Weather Wire
- Emergency Managers Weather Information Network
- News Media
Additionally, the Operation Center must demonstrate that it can monitor evolving weather conditions using:
- Weather instruments
- Gauge monitors
- Radar (NWS, local & Internet)
During severe weather events, the Operations Center is expected to disseminate warnings by utilizing:
- Cable override
- NOAA Weather Radio in public buildings
- Other systems unique to the area
To keep and maintain certification, a community must increase preparedness through spotter and dispatcher training and public safety presentations as well as demonstrate an ongoing enhancement of internal procedures through review of its hazardous weather action plan.
To acquire certification and recognition as a StormReady community, the following steps must be completed:
- The community must apply for recognition in writing
- The local board reviews the application, and if the application is accepted, the Board
- Performs a verification visit, which, if completed successfully moves the process to
- A press conference and formal recognition
Storm Ready recognition must be renewed every two years.
The Insurance Services organization grants StormReady communities rating points, potentially reducing flood and other insurance rates.
A tornado struck parts of southern Henry County, IL on April 19th, 1996. One town hit by the tornado was Galva, IL. The following is a summary of the events leading up to the Galva, IL tornado using Level II Archive Data originally created by the KDVN WSR-88D.
A major severe weather outbreak occurred across far Eastern Iowa and Illinois during the afternoon and evening of 4/19/96. Explosive severe thunderstorm development occurred across southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri, and west central Illinois at maximum heating. Wind shear profiles throughout the atmosphere were such that tornado development was favored. Many super cell thunderstorms developed during the course of the event and many tornadoes were produced along with several reports of penny or larger sized hail and wind damage. A low end F3 tornado struck the city of Galva, IL around 7 p.m. causing extensive damage. In Illinois, Henry county was one of several Illinois counties declared a state disaster area
The Sequence of Events...
The sequence of events is focused on conditions affecting Henry County, IL. All times are Central Daylight Time.
- (511 PM) Tornado Watch 190 issued for parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin until 11:00 PM.
- (535 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Northern Des Moines County, IA.
- (541 PM) Golf ball size hail reported 5 miles north of Danville, IA in Des Moines County, IA.
- (550 PM) The storm continued moving east-northeast. A Tornado Warning was issued for Louisa County, IA and Mercer County, IL.
- (601 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Northern Henderson County, IL.
- (611 PM) A tornado dropped out of this storm 0.5 miles northeast of Bald Bluff, IL in northern Henderson County, IL.
- (624 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Western Henry County, IL and Eastern Mercer County, IL.
- (637 PM) Tornado Warning issued for Eastern Henry County, IL.
- (639 PM) Lynn Center in western Henry County, IL reports 1.75 inch hail.
- (650 PM) 1.75 inch hail reported at Cambridge, IL in Henry County.
- (700 PM) Tornado reported at Bishop Hill and Galva, IL in Henry County.
- This tornado produced no fatalities and 3 minor injuries. The Storm Damage Survey the next day revealed the town of Galva was very prepared for this type of severe weather and is likely the largest reason for no fatalities and low injuries. We would also like to think that the Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities 23 minutes before it hit Bishop Hill and Galva played a role. It takes a concerted effort between all public and private agencies to mitigate human casualties.
The Path of Destruction...
The National Weather Service's Weather Forecast Office maintains an excellent online library of educational and weather related resources. Please visit the National Weather Service's Quad Cities Weather Forecast Office online for access to those resources; or use the gallery below to peruse some of our favorites.
The Gallery consists of six (6) panels. three (3) documents per panel in the following categories:
- Storm Spotters
- Disaster Planning
- Danger In The Air
- Danger On The Ground
- Rain Or Shine, and
Click on the thumbnail panel of your choice to see what the panel contains. When you find something of interest, click on the document in the panel below, which will pull up a larger picture of the document directly below the panel. Beneath the larger version you will find a synopsis, at the end of which you will find a link to the full document. The full document will open in a new window, allowing you to read the document online or alternately saving it to your hard drive for latter reference.
Although the NWS often provides training, spotter groups in most areas are organized by emergency management officials or the police or fire department. If you are interested in becoming a spotter, check with these agencies to find out who serves as spotters in your area. Full Document
Severe local storms occur in all parts of the continental United States in an average year. As part of their training, storm spotters should be aware of severe storm definitions and terminology used by the National Weather Service. Full Document
The information contained in this guide is not for the novice spotter. It is recommended that spotters go through two or more basic spotter training sessions and have some experience at actual storm spotting before attempting the intermediate/advanced training material. Spotters should be comfortable with the basic concepts
of storm structure and storm spotting. Obviously, spotters should have a desire to learn the latest concepts of tornado and severe thunderstorm behavior. Full Document
Families can–and do–cope with disaster by preparing in
advance and working together as a team. Follow the steps
listed in this brochure to create your family’s disaster plan.
Knowing what to do is your best protection and your
responsibility. Full Document
Tornado, Flash Flood, Severe Thunderstorm and Lightning safety tips. Full Document
Plan - Practice - Monitor - Act is an effective, comprehensive approach to severe weather preparedness. Each element is a part of the whole. If any piece is missing, you don't have a complete pie, and you won't have the same result. Full Document
Tornadoes can occur any time of the year. In southern states peak tornado occurrence is March through May,
while peak months in northern states are late spring through summer. Tornadoes are most likely to occur
between 3 and 9 p.m. but can happen at any time. Full Document
Each year in the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning. On average, between 55 and 60 people are killed and hundreds of others suffer permanent neurological disabilities. Most of these tragedies could be prevented with a few simple precautions. Full Document
Thunderstorms can produce: Tornadoes, Lightning, Strong winds, Flash Floods, and Hail. Of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms that occur each year in the United States, about 10% are classified as severe. Full Document
Floods kill more people in the United States on average than all other types of weather. In recent years, only heat fatalities have surpassed flood fatalities in the annual statistics. Floods can roll boulders the size of cars, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and pose a significant threat to human lives. Full Document
Floods are one of the greatest natural disasters known to mankind. Over the past 50 years, flooding caused an average of almost $4 billion in damages and took more than 100 lives per year in the United States – more than any weather-related event. Three fourths of all presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding. Full Document
This preparedness guide explains flood-related hazards and suggests life-saving actions you can take. With this information you can recognize a flood potential, develop a plan, and be ready when threatening weather approaches. Remember...your safety is up to YOU! Full Document
Drought is a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, resulting in a water shortage causing adverse impacts on vegetation, animals, and/or people. Full Document
There are many types of rain gages available for measuring precipitation. Here are just a few examples. Full Document
Heat can affect anyone. However, it is more likely to affect young children, elderly people, and people with health problems. For instance, people with a medical condition that causes poor blood circulation, and those who take medications to get rid of water from the body (diuretics) or for certain skin conditions, may be more susceptible. Consult with a physician if you have any questions about how your medication may affect your ability to tolerate heat. Full Document
This preparedness guide explains the dangers of winter weather and suggests life-saving action YOU can take. With this information, YOU can recognize winter weather threats, develop an action plan and be ready when severe winter weather threatens. Remember…your safety is up to YOU. Full Document
Winter storms pose serious threats to people, pets and property. Extreme cold, freezing rain, snow and strong winds can be especially dangerous. Take precautions now to protect your family and your home. Full Document
A total of 109 people have died from exposure to cold temperatures in the state of Illinois since 1997. This is much more than severe thunderstorms and tornadoes (30 deaths), floods (20 deaths), and lightning (12 deaths) during the same period. Full Document