2013 Severe Weather Awareness Week March 3-9, 2013

The National Weather Service and Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, have declared the week of March 3-9 as Severe Weather Awareness Week for 2013. All week long the National Weather Service will be issuing informative messages to help you prepare for severe weather.

FC Tornado Warning


On Wednesday, March 6, at 9:30 a.m., the National Weather Service, in cooperation with local broadcasters, will conduct the statewide tornado drill in the form of a Required Monthly Test on all NOAA weather radio and public alert systems. The alarm test will activate the State Emergency Alert System and be carried by local radio broadcasters. This will allow schools, businesses, and residents the opportunity to practice their tornado drills and enact safety plans.

Over the last several years a number of North Carolina residents have been injured and even killed by lightning, tornadoes, and flooding. Property losses from tornadoes since 2005 have exceeded $53 million. Everyone across North Carolina should use this week to think about what to do when threatened by lightning, hail, flooding, and tornadoes.

Use this week to discuss safety at work and with your children or students. Talk about your severe weather plans . . . where to take shelter and practice taking refuge in a basement, hall closet, or bathroom. These preparatory actions may save your life!

House destroyed by a tornado

Many severe storms and tornadoes strike at night as most people are sleeping — catching individuals off guard, despite warning lead times averaging 20 minutes. These night-time monsters have a history of being particularly deadly in North Carolina.Studies have found that North Carolina is ranked FIRST IN THE NATION with the greatest percentage of killer night-time tornadoes.

When a warning is issued, "Get In, Get Down, and Cover Up."

  • Get In - Get as far inside a strong building as you can and stay away from windows which can easily break during strong winds or from flying debris.
  • Get Down - Get as low as possible by going to the lowest floor. A basement or underground shelter is best, if available. By crouching down, you are minimizing the possibility of being hit by flying debris.
  • Cover Up - Cover yourself (especially your head) with a pillow, blankets, or even a mattress to further protect yourself from flying debris. If possible, get beneath a workbench or table.

BEFORE severe weather threatens:

  • Learn about severe thunderstorms and tornadoes and what kinds of damage they can produce and the dangers they present.
  • Have an emergency action plan for both your home and your workplace. Know where you will go if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued.
  • Know what county you live and work in and where within your county you are located. Severe weather warnings are issued by county or a section of a county (northern Forsyth County, for example)
  • Before heading outdoors for an extended time, check the latest forecasts. If the risk of threatening weather is high, you may wish to postpone your plans.
  • Make sure you always have access to a reliable source of weather information.  A battery-powered NOAA weather radio will always provide you with the very latest weather information, including watches and warnings, and radios with an alarm feature will automatically alert you of any watches or warnings issued.

WHEN a tornado warning is issued or a tornado is approaching:

  • Move to a predesignated shelter such as a basement, bathroom, or closet in a home or building.
  • Move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture if an underground shelter is not available.
  • In a large building such as a shopping center, go to the designated shelter area or to a small reinforced area within the building such as a restroom.  Avoid areas with a large roof expanse as they have a tendency to collapse under the stress of a tornado or downburst winds.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Do NOT stay in a vehicle.  Do NOT try to outrun a tornado in your car.  Go to a safe shelter if available or get into a ditch and protect your head with your hands.
  • Be aware of flying debris.  Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.  Go to a reinforced shelter immediately.

The Ready North Carolina web site has checklists, videos, and information on all kinds of emergencies.

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