Severe Weather Preparedness Week

March 6th, 2019 - Today’s Topic
Staying safe when high winds,
hail, and tornadoes strike!

When your area is under a tornado warning, or if you see a tornado approaching, you should seek shelter immediately! Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head. The following are safety tips for seeking shelter during high winds and tornadoes.

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If you are in a structure such as a residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, or high-rise building:

  • Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (such as a closet, bathroom, or interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.

  • Do not open windows.

This damage was done by a Tornado here in Elizabeth City.

This damage was done by a Tornado here in Elizabeth City.

If you are in a manufactured home or office:

  • Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes

If you are outside with no shelter available, there is no single research-based recommendation for what last-resort action to take, because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

  • Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

Statewide Tornado Drill - March 6th @ 9:30 AM

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Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 6th) at 9:30 AM,

The National Weather Service in cooperation with local broadcasters will conduct a statewide tornado drill. The alarm test, which will come in the form of a Required Monthly Test, will activate the State Emergency Alert System and be carried by local radio broadcasters. Every school, business, and residence is encouraged to participate in this drill. It’s really easy: at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, take a few moments to practice your severe weather safety plan, and seek shelter for a few minutes as if a tornado was headed your way. To help you prepare for this drill, be sure to visit the National Weather Service’s severe weather preparedness website at http://www.weather.gov/rah/2019ncswpw where you can learn more about seeking safe shelter when severe weather strikes. In addition, throughout the day Wednesday, the NWS will feature NOAA Weather Radio messages and social media posts that highlight severe weather safety tips.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week

March 5th, 2019 - Today’s Topic:

Ways to receive severe weather alerts!

One of the keys to staying safe during the severe weather season is making sure that you have a way to receive lifesaving severe weather watches and warnings. There are many methods and tools, some of which are available with no cost or fees, that you can use to receive these important lifesaving alerts no matter where you are - at home, at school, or at work. Here is a partial list of these methods and tools:

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For more information, visit https://www.weather.gov/wrn/wea

Severe Weather Preparedness Week

March 4th, 2019 - Today’s Topic:

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes

Be sure to take some time this week to learn more about severe weather safety. Learning and practicing severe weather safety when the weather is good will allow you to react more quickly when the weather turns bad. You can learn more about severe weather safety by visiting the North Carolina Department of Public Safety preparedness website at readync.org.  
  • A thunderstorm is a local storm that produces lightning and thunder. Thunderstorms are often accompanied by showery rain and gusty winds, and may also bring hail or snow. Thunderstorms occur most frequently during the spring and summer, but they are also possible in the fall and winter. North Carolina experiences about 40 to 50 thunderstorm days per year. About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or stronger, or produces a tornado.

  • Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Sometimes, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.

When atmospheric conditions are conducive for the formation of tornadoes, the National Weather Service will issue a Tornado Watch. A Tornado Watch means that tornadoes are possible. During Tornado Watches, you should remain alert for approaching storms, watch the sky, and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for additional information. A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. When a Tornado Warning is issued for your area, you should take shelter immediately.

The following are some additional severe storm facts for North Carolina:

Fact #1 - North Carolina averages 26 tornadoes, 3 tornado fatalities, and 39 tornado injuries each year.

Fact #2 - Most tornadoes and tornado-related casualties occur during meteorological spring (March to May), with a peak in April, particularly among strong and violent tornadoes. There is also a secondary peak in tornado frequency in November.

Fact #4 - There has been upward trend in the reports of weak tornadoes since the middle of the 20th century. This is likely due to improvements in radar technology, communication, storm surveys, and storm spotter training, as well as an expanding population, infrastructure, and spotter network.

Fact #3 - Tornadoes occur most frequently in the late afternoon and early evening hours; however, many killer tornadoes occur during the overnight hours when tornadoes are difficult to see and people are asleep.

Fact #5 - Thirty confirmed tornadoes occurred in North Carolina on April 16, 2011, the greatest one day total for North Carolina on record. On that day, 24 individuals lost their lives in North Carolina, and there were over 300 injuries reported in central North Carolina alone.

Fact #6 - Severe gusts of wind from a thunderstorm, called down-bursts or straight line winds, are a serious danger and can result in injuries and fatalities. Damage from straight line winds can look like and be just as bad as tornado damage. In fact, during the past 5 years, there have been 16 fatalities and over 70 injuries in North Carolina due to straight line thunderstorm winds.

Fact #7 - While most of the hail that falls in the state is typically the size of a quarter or smaller, in the past 5 years, hail the size of golf balls or larger has occurred over 200 times. During this same time, baseball-size hail has occurred 8 times.