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March 5-11 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week and Governor Roy Cooper is urging North Carolinians to prepare and practice safety plans in case severe weather strikes.
“Spring is the most active season for thunderstorms and tornadoes across North Carolina, but we know severe weather can strike at any time,” Governor Cooper said. “Residents across North Carolina can help protect themselves and their families by being prepared for severe weather by updating their emergency kits, having a preparedness plan, and ensuring they have a way to stay informed about the weather conditions and emergency announcements.”
Governor Cooper is also encouraging North Carolinians to participate in this year’s statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 a.m. For those working remotely or at your place of employment, go to the lowest floor and the most interior room of the building you are in.
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.
“North Carolinians should participate in the statewide tornado drill to ensure they know where to go and what to do in the event a tornado, or other severe weather event should impact where they live or work. Be sure you have a family emergency plan as well as a work emergency plan and practice with those you live and work with to help you survive an actual event,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Will Ray.
Test messages will be broadcast via the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV and on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios.
Across the state in 2022, North Carolina recorded 21 tornado touchdowns and 125 large hail events, 951 severe thunderstorms with damaging wind and hail, and 74 flood or flash flood events.
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.
Get more information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness online at ReadyNC.gov.