During the past year, North Carolina experienced 10 tornadoes and nearly 500 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds or large hail. This resulted in 3 fatalities, 10 injuries, and over 11 million dollars in damages across the state.
North Carolina’s Severe Weather Awareness Week is an effort to increase awareness of severe weather and to motivate individuals, families, businesses, and communities to take actions that will prepare them in the event of severe weather.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is proud to be promoting North Carolina’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, which will take place during the week of March 2-8, 2014. During this week, we are asking members of the community to Be a Force of Nature and better prepare for severe weather threats in our area. This year, North Carolina’s annual Severe Weather Awareness Week corresponds with the National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As a committed leader for weather-readiness, each day during the awareness week the NWS will be highlighting ways individuals can Be a Force of Nature by knowing the risk, taking action and serving as an example.
Daily Severe Weather Awareness Topics can be found here: http://www.weather.gov/rah/2014ncswaw
In addition, the North Carolina Annual Statewide Tornado Drill for 2014 will take place on Wednesday, March 5, at 9:30 AM EST. Every school, business, work place, and family across the state is strongly encouraged to participate in this drill. Please ensure that all schools and businesses that are participating in the drill are aware of the following important points:
- The drill will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System via the Required Monthly Test (RMT). There will not be an actual Tornado Warning issued.
- Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers (including the Midland WR-100 that many schools have) do not sound an audible alert for the RMT product; but instead, may have a blinking light on the display to indicate that an RMT was received. As such, when the RMT for the statewide tornado drill is initiated at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, there is a good chance that your NOAA Weather Radio will not sound an alarm.
- Since your NOAA Weather Radio may not sound an alarm at the time the RMT is issued, you will want to do one of the following:
- Simply plan to start your tornado drill own your own at 9:30 AM; or
- You can manually turn on your NOAA Weather Radio receiver and simply listen to the audio broadcast to hear when the RMT is issued, which will mark the beginning of the statewide tornado drill.
- There will be no followup statements issued by the NWS to mark the end of the statewide tornado drill. It will simply be over when your group, school, business, organization, or family feel that you have adequately practiced your tornado shelter procedures.
- If there is actual severe weather occurring on the morning of March 5, 2014, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed. The alternate date for the drill is Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM EST.
- This drill and RMT will take the place of the usual weekly NOAA Weather Radio Alert test (RWT). That is, there will not be a weekly radio test done between 11 AM and Noon on that day.
Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather can impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take Action: Before storms strike, develop a family communication plan, create or purchase an emergency supplies kit, and discover ways to stay informed.
Be an Example: Share your preparedness story with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Letting others know that you’re prepared will prompt them to prepare as well. Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others.