Storm activity spikes in 2018
BY ALYSSA MEIER
Over 200 severe weather warnings have gone out in the McLean County area so far in 2018, more than twice the number that was seen during the same period in 2017. It is the highest number of storm warnings McLean County Director of Disaster Emergency Services Noelle Kroll has seen since at least 2015.
“We had a few years with quite a few, before I was appointed (as director), but I couldn’t say if it was this many or not,” Kroll said.
According to the National Weather Service, there had been 229 Severe Weather Warnings in the McLean County area as of July 23. During the same period in 2017, that number was 103, less than half the number in 2018.
Kroll said the influx in severe storms has meant more contact with the National Weather Service and local entities, and that it has been a test for the county’s own systems. During the June 29 storm, when much of Southern McLean County went dark, so did the county courthouse, bringing down CodeRed capabilities.
Kroll said the alternator for the county courthouse’s backup generator had failed, leaving the building without power or Internet and making it difficult for dispatchers to relay information. The alternator has since been repaired, and Kroll said the CodeRed system is up and ready to go, whenever needed. But with this much storm activity coming through the area, Kroll says it can be hard to determine when to send out the emergency notifications to residents.