March 3 - 9, 2019 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina. This week the National Weather Service and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety are teaming up to bring this severe weather safety campaign to all of North Carolina’s residents. With warmer weather quickly approaching, now is the time to prepare for the severe weather season. If each North Carolina resident would take a few moments this week to learn about severe weather safety and implement a safety plan, then we would all be better off when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes inevitably strike our state and the likelihood of injury and fatalities caused by severe weather could be minimized.
Schools and government buildings statewide will hold tornado drills Wednesday, March 6, at 9:30 a.m. to practice their emergency plans. Test messages will be broadcast on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios and the Emergency Alert System. All North Carolinians are encouraged to participate in the drill.
This year's North Carolina Severe Weather Preparedness Week will combine multiple awareness weeks while focusing on tornadoes, large hail, lightning, flash flooding, and damaging straight-line winds. Click on each link to learn more about staying safe during that type of weather hazard.
- Sunday: Introduction
- Monday: Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes
- Tuesday: Ways to receive severe weather alerts, and information about the Statewide Tornado Drill
- Wednesday: Staying safe when high winds, hail, and tornadoes strike
- Thursday: Lightning safety
- Friday: Flash flood safety
- Saturday: Make a plan and encourage others to do the same
In addition to making a severe weather safety plan, we strongly encourage everyone to participate in the Statewide Tornado Drill, which will occur on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 9:30 AM. Every school, business, work place, and family across the state is strongly encouraged to participate in this drill. It is important that all schools and businesses are aware of the following important points about the tornado drill:
- 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 7, 2018, 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:
- Manually turn on your NOAA Weather Radio receiver around 9:25 AM Wednesday morning, and simply listen to the audio broadcast to hear when the RMT is issued, which will mark the beginning of the statewide tornado drill; or -
- Simply self-initiate the tornado drill on your own at 9:30 AM.
- There will be no follow-up statements issued by the NWS to mark the end of the statewide tornado drill. It will simply be over when your group, school, business, or organization feels that you have adequately practiced your tornado shelter procedures.
- If there is actual severe weather occurring on the morning of March 6 2019, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed. The alternate date for the drill is Friday, March 8 2019 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.