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Officials urge North Carolina residents to be prepared, as part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week

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Sharryse Piggott
Staff at Wake County’s Northern Regional Center participated in a statewide tornado drill.

State and weather officials gave tips about how to ready for severe weather during the annual statewide tornado drill.

Severe Weather Season started in March and continues through May. Last year, there were over 1,000 severe weather events in the state, including 21 tornadoes, 951 severe thunderstorms with damaging wind and hail, and 74 flood or flash flood events. Meteorologist Nick Petro with the National Weather Service in Raleigh said preparation is key.

“Make sure you have a way to wake you up in the middle of the night when severe weather sometimes strikes at night,” he said, following Wednesday’s statewide tornado drill. “That's the most dangerous time because people are sleeping. So make sure you have your phone turned or NOAA weather radio turned on.”

The National Weather Service worked with other officials to broadcast the statewide tornado drill over National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio stations and the Emergency Alert System, as part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

Brian Haines, a spokesperson for North Carolina Emergency Management, also emphasized the importance of preparedness, since severe storms can bring heavy rain, flooding and lightning.

“We want people to be prepared for any of those things, including power outages, or if they need to evacuate,” he said. “We want them to make sure they're ready to go if they need to."

Haines recommended having an emergency plan. During severe weather, that should include getting to the lowest point in a house or an interior room away from windows as well as an escape route to a shelter if there’s an evacuation warning. Tips are available at

Sharryse Piggott is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow.
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