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The original item was published from 9/15/2021 3:21:00 PM to 9/15/2021 3:21:48 PM.

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ReadyForsyth (Emergency Management)

Posted on: March 5, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Tornado Drill March 10 Highlights Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management logo

Emergency Management
March 5, 2021

Emergency Management officials are encouraging residents to participate in the statewide tornado drill at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 10, to ensure that they are prepared for severe weather that may occur this spring.

The National Weather Service (NWS) will broadcast the drill over NOAA weather radio stations and the Emergency Alert System. 

Participating in the drill is the best way to be prepared for severe weather that can arrive with little or no warning, says August Vernon, the emergency management director for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. “Spring is around the corner but so is the potential for severe weather,” Vernon said.  “Severe thunderstorms can develop rapidly and include a variety of weather conditions such as hail, flash floods and tornadoes.”  

The tornado drill is part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina, March 7 – 13. Forsyth County schools and government buildings will participate in the tornado drill. However, because March 10 is a student flex day, schools and teachers have been instructed to use the drill as an opportunity to teach students how to react if a tornado were to strike while at home.

Emergency officials recommend having a weather radio that broadcasts alerts from the National Weather Service whenever severe weather occurs. Many tornado fatalities have occurred at night when people are asleep and less likely to receive a warning without a weather radio.

In addition, residents should put together a kit with emergency supplies and have an emergency plan so everyone knows where to go, who to call and what to do during a disaster. 

“Practicing what to do is part of being prepared when severe weather strikes,” Vernon said. “The time you take now to prepare will make all the difference.” 

In 2020, the National Weather Service issued 312 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 48 tornadoes. There were 247 incidents of flooding across the state. In addition, the National Weather Service recorded 609 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds or hail.

Emergency officials recommend people remember the following safety tips:

  • Know the terms: WATCH means a tornado is possible. WARNING means a tornado has been spotted; take shelter immediately.
  • Know where the nearest safe room is, such as a basement or interior room and away from windows, and go there immediately if you hear or see a tornado.
  • If driving, leave your vehicle immediately and seek safety in an adequate structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle, and do not stop under an overpass or a bridge.
  • If outdoors, and there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area. Watch out for flying debris.
  • After a storm, wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves and gloves when walking on or near debris, and be aware of exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Be aware of damaged power or gas lines and electrical systems that may cause fires, electrocution or explosions.

More information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness can be found online at or To receive the most recent updates, “like” ReadyForsyth on Facebook and Twitter.

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