Severe weather preparedness week in North Carolina

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The week of March 1 through 7 has been designated Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina. As we enter March, we are moving closer to our primary severe weather season, and officials with the National Weather Service want you to be prepared for any possible severe weather this Spring. Each day focuses on different aspects of severe weather, from flash flooding to severe storms to tornadoes. Monday’s focus is tornadoes.

On average, 26 tornadoes occur in the entire state of North Carolina a year, resulting in an average of 3 deaths and 39 injuries. In Central North Carolina, just over 40 percent of all tornadoes that form in a year occur in the Spring months of March, April, and May. Almost half occur in the Summer and Fall months, tied mainly to landfalling hurricanes and a small spike in severe weather in the Fall.

To practice severe weather safety and preparedness, a statewide tornado drill will occur on Wednesday, March 4 at 9:30am. This is a time to practice your severe weather plan and know where to go should severe weather strike. It is important to know where your safe place is in different locations, like at work and school. You want to be in a sturdy, site-built structure on the lowest floor away from walls and windows. The best places are a basement or storm shelter, but an interior room (usually a closet, bathroom, or hallway) will also work. You also want to protect your head and chest from flying debris, and you can use a pillow, helmet, clothing, and simply crouch and use your arms to shield yourself. Tornadoes are usually not the cause of deaths but the debris within them which can impale those in the way.

When severe weather strikes, you will often hear different terms used, and understanding those and knowing what to do is important. A watch (severe thunderstorm, tornado) means that conditions are favorable for that hazards to form and to be monitoring the weather. A warning (severe thunderstorm or tornado) means the threat is occurring and to seek shelter and monitor local weather conditions.

You can follow the weather anytime, rain or shine, by downloading the CBS 17 News and Weather apps.

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