The state’s nerve center for emergency response was activated Monday because of the polar vortex responsible for sub-zero temperatures, sub-sub-zero wind chills, and blowing snow. The State Emergency Operations Center is a giant conference room with room for representatives of each state agency, as well as service providers such as the American Red Cross.
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“All of these agencies have offices across the state,” says Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “They have personnel that are out there. They can give us a lot of visibility on what’s going on across the state. They can bring to our attention additional problems or issues that we don’t already know about.” Thompson says both in last year’s tornadoes and in the current weather emergency, the weather forecasts gave plenty of warning. Thompson says the public is taking the warning seriously, given the low casualty totals.