Governor Pat McCrory issued a proclamation making March 3-9, 2013 Severe Weather Awareness Week in North Carolina. Here at the State Archives, we will promote awareness by having a tornado drill. What will you do?
The governor’s proclamation is a reminder that severe weather also includes thunderstorms, heavy rain, high winds, hail and flash floods. For those of us in downtown Raleigh, the storms on April 16, 2011, really brought home the urgency of severe weather awareness and preparation. That was the day in which an historic 30 confirmed tornadoes were recorded in North Carolina, including a destructive one that traveled through the capital.
Now is the time to review and evaluate the effectiveness of your facility’s emergency action plan. Use a little time this week to take some basic steps toward being prepared. For example, ReadyNC.org has this Emergency Evacuation Kit Checklist that you can use at work or in your own home.
In addition, here are some tornado safety tips:
- Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
- The safest place to be during a tornado is underground in a basement or storm cellar. If you have no basement, go to an inner hallway or smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Go to the center of the room. Try to find something sturdy you can get under and hold onto to protect you from flying debris and/or a collapsed roof. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Listen to the radio, local television, weather channel or a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio for information.
- A watch means conditions are right for tornado formation; a warning means a tornado has actually been sighted.
- Mobile homes, even those with tie-downs, are particularly vulnerable to damage from high winds. Go to a prearranged shelter when the weather turns bad.
- If no shelter is available, go outside and lie on the ground, if possible in a ditch or depression. Use your arms to protect your head and neck and wait for the storm to pass. While waiting, be alert for the flash floods that sometimes accompany tornadoes.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in a car. A tornado can toss cars and trucks around like toys. If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning issued, get out of your vehicle and find safe shelter. If no shelter is available, lie down in a low area using your arms to cover the back of your head and neck. Be sure to stay alert for flooding.