Be Prepared and Practice for Severe Weather

Monday, March 2, 2020 - 12:21pm

Governor Declares March 1-7 Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Showers are beginning to help flowers and trees to develop buds, birds are singing early morning songs, and the sound of thunder is rumbling across the sky. Spring is a thing of beauty in North Carolina, but it is also the most active season for tornados and severe thunderstorms.  As you are getting the garden ready for all that will begin to bloom in the next few months, also be thinking severe weather preparedness. 
To help you prepare, Governor Roy Cooper declared March 1-7 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolinia, encouraging you and your family to have a safety plan in case severe weather strikes and to practice what you will do.

In case you think severe weather is not going to affect you, keep in mind that in 2019, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued 710 severe thunderstorm warnings and recorded 928 severe thunderstorms with damaging winds. This is on top of 88 flash flood warnings and 91 flood events across the state. 

If that is not enough to convince you to prepare for severe weather, the NWS also delivered 158 tornado warnings in North Carolina and recorded 51 tornado touchdowns last year. Tornadoes form during severe thunderstorms when winds change direction and increase in speed. These storms can produce large hail and damaging winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. A tornado can develop rapidly with little warning, so having a plan in place will allow you to respond quickly. 

To help you prepare, you can participate from home or work in an annual tornado drill by joining schools and government agencies across the state on Wednesday, March 4, at 9:30 a.m. If you want to join in, the NWS will broadcast test messages on weather radios and the Emergency Alert System, just follow their instructions. 

Emergency Management officials recommend the following safety tips:

  • Develop a family emergency plan so each member knows what to do, where to go and who to call during an emergency.
  • If thunder roars, go indoors! Lightning is close enough to strike you. 
  • Know where the nearest safe room is, such as a basement or interior room away from windows.
  • Know the terms: WATCH means severe weather is possible. WARNING means severe weather is occurring; take shelter immediately.
  • Assemble an emergency supply kit for use at home or in your vehicle. Make sure to include a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water.
  • If driving, leave your vehicle immediately to seek shelter in a safe structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle and do not stop under an overpass or bridge.
  • If there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area. 

Read Governor Cooper’s proclamation and get more information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness online at  

Brian R. Haines