This week (February 23 – 27), North Carolina is in for more ugly weather – but this time it’s not going to be icy. Instead, we’re looking at the threat of heavy rain, thunderstorms, harsh winds, and even tornadoes. Here’s what you can expect, and here’s how you can prepare.
Starting Wednesday at 10AM, a large storm cell will move into the Carolinas, bringing thunder, lightning, and wind in excess of 20mph. By 3PM, the intensity of the storms will increase, bringing even stronger winds, and the possibility of tornadoes. There is also the possibility of flooding in the Carolinas.
Weather.com rates the potential tornado risk for an area on a 1 to 10 scale called TOR:CON. The TOR:CON index for our area is currently rated at a 6, which translates to: “high probability of a tornado.” That means we’re in for a pretty nasty storm, and we should all be taking the necessary precautions to stay safe.
Tornado and severe weather safety
Most everyone learned the basics of tornado safety in elementary school, but in case you forgot, here’s a couple of rules to follow in the event of a tornado:
- If you have a basement, get to it.
- If you don’t have a basement, find a small interior room (a room closest to the center of your home) on the lowest floor.
- Avoid all windows no matter what.
- Mobile home: gov says “Get out!”
- Do everything you can to avoid being inside a car in a tornado.
The general idea is to find sturdy shelter, and stay as far from exterior walls as possible. It’s important to remain calm in the event of a tornado, make sure everyone gets to the safety zone, and wait the storm out. The NOAA recommends you stay put until emergency personnel arrive. Here’s a quote from their website:
“Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.”
Don’t be scared, be prepared
The best thing you can do to prepare for this situation is know where you’re going to be when the weather gets ugly, and build a plan for the worst case scenario. Know where your safety zone will be and stock it with plenty of water, some non-perishable food, a simple first aid kit, blankets, and anything other essentials. There’s no substitute for preparation.