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The original item was published from 3/4/2022 8:19:07 AM to 3/4/2022 8:21:04 AM.

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Posted on: March 4, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Tornado Drill March 9 Highlights Severe Weather Preparedness Week

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

The National Weather Service will broadcast the drill over National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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 best way to prepare for quick action is to have a family emergency plan, assemble a supply kit and stay alert by listening to local radio, television or a NOAA radio for information on severe weather,” Vernon said.

The tornado drill is part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina, March 6 – 12. Forsyth County schools and government buildings will participate in the tornado drill while practicing social distancing.

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. 

In 2021, the National Weather Service issued 194 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 21 tornadoes. There were 109 incidents of flooding across the state. In addition, the National Weather Service issued 1,114 severe thunderstorm warnings and recorded 101 storms with large hail and 344 thunderstorms with damaging winds.

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 ReadyForsyth.org or ReadyNC.org. To receive the most recent updates, “like” ReadyForsyth on Facebook and Twitter. 

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