Spring means severe weather in NC; prepare now for tornadoes, storms

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Severe Weather Preparedness Week is March 6 to 12 here in North Carolina, and the WRAL Severe Weather Center has everything you need to know to keep you and your family safe! The most active severe weather in North Carolina occurs during the months of March, April and May. Now is a perfect time to go over your safety plans with your family as we approach the active storm season. There will be a statewide tornado drill Wednesday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m.

North Carolina averages 26 tornadoes each year. We average three in March, four in April and five in May. Tornadoes can happen any time of the year, but the spring season is definitely the most active.

It’s always important to know where to go in the event that a tornado warning is issued for your area. The best spot to go is to the lowest level of the building you are in. Try to put as many walls between you and the outside. Choose a room with no windows if possible.

During the spring season, we will get many watches and warnings issued for central North Carolina. A watch means conditions are right for severe weather to develop. A warning means that severe weather is happening right now and you need to initiate your severe weather plan and get to safety.

Watches and warnings

Severe thunderstorms can produce just as much damage as tornadoes. If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, get to safety immediately. A thunderstorm is considered severe if it has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher, hail at least an inch in diameter or produces a tornado.

Storm safety

North Carolina comes in at No. 2 nationwide for lightning casualties. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to get struck by lightning. Make sure to go inside if you hear the rumble of thunder! You will need to wait 20 to 30 minutes once the storm passes before going back outside.

Lightning safety

The best way to stay safe during the severe weather season is to have the WRAL Weather App on your phone. Be sure to turn on the alerts. The best part about this app is that it is based on your GPS location. So, even if you are at the beach on vacation, you will still get severe weather alerts. Be safe out there!

WRAL weather app