RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina.
The National Weather Service and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety are teaming up to help residents get prepared for when the weather turns ugly.
Schools and government buildings will hold tornado drills Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to practice their emergency plans. There will be test messages broadcast on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios and the Emergency Alert System. All North Carolina residents are encouraged to participate.
CBS 17 is breaking down severe weather hazards throughout the week of March 7-13.
Monday’s focus is on how to prepare for tornadoes and the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.
“Basically, a tornado watch means to get prepared. Look over your severe weather plan. Review where you will go if a tornado warning is issued. On the other hand, a tornado warning is a take-action time,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Nick Petro said.
Tornadoes can form any time of the year and at any time of the day and night.
“The smallest number of tornadoes occur at night, but the largest proportion of deaths occur at night. The reason is pretty obvious because people are sleeping,” Petro said.
If a tornado warning occurs in your area, take shelter and stay there until the storm passes.
“You want to put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. And, once you are in your storm shelter, get down and protect yourself from flying debris. That’s the number one thing to remember. Inside, the interior room, the lowest floor, get down,” said Petro.
Make sure you have a way to get severe weather alerts. An NOAA weather radio is worth investing in because it will wake you up at night if a tornado is in the area.
“It’s just like a smoke detector. If there’s a fire in your home at night, a smoke detector is going to wake you up. An NOAA weather radio will wake you up in the middle of the night if a tornado warning is issued for your area,” Petro said.
According to a 2008 study by Northern Illinois University, 28 percent of all North Carolina tornadoes happen at night and they account for 81 percent of all North Carolina deaths.