ASHEBORO N.C. – Schools, daycares, government offices, and businesses are set to participate in a statewide tornado drill this wednesday.
The Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 9:30 AM. The drill, a part of national severe weather week is a program between the National Weather Service and ReadyNC.gov, a service of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Designed to give people in the state a chance to review and participate in a tornado drill ahead of the upcoming tornado season.
In the last 10 years North Carolina has seen 380 tornados according to data from the National Weather Service, 97 of those resulted in property damage, with 32 deaths, and 554 injuries.
Watch vs Warning
What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service?
Tornado Watch: Be Prepared! Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives! Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for counties where tornadoes may occur. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.
Tornado Warning: Take Action! A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris. Warnings are issued by your local forecast office. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a tornado identified by a forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.
When a Tornado Warning is issued the National Weather Service says acting quickly is key to staying safe. Several tips include staying Weather-Ready by listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about tornado watches and warnings. If a tornado warning is issued you should seek shelter immediately.
AT HOME | Go to your basement, safe room, or an interior room away from windows. Don’t forget pets (if time allows).
AT WORK | Follow your tornado drill and proceed to your tornado shelter location quickly and calmly. Stay away from windows and do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, or auditoriums.
OUTSIDE | Seek shelter inside a sturdy building immediately if a tornado is approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe. Neither is a mobile home or tent. If you have time, get to a safe building.
IN A VEHICLE | Being in a vehicle during a tornado is not safe. The best course of action is to drive to the closest shelter. If you are unable to make it to a safe shelter, either get down in your car and cover your head, or abandon your car and seek shelter in a low lying area such as a ditch or ravine.
For the drill, there are a few things to be aware of:
- 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.
- Many older NOAA Weather Radios (including Midland WR-100) do not sound an audible alert for the Required Monthly Test
- 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.
- News outlets and other news agencies will likely also be testing the systems they use to alert readers/viewers in the event of severe weather.
The National Weather Service says that if there is actual severe weather occurring on the morning of Wednesday, March 9, 2022, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed. The alternate date for the drill is Friday, March 11, 2022, at 9:30 AM.
Please direct any questions about Severe Weather Preparedness Week or the tornado drill to Nick Petro, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, at (919) 326-1042, ext 223, or via email at Nicholas.Petro@noaa.gov. In addition, please visit the NWS Raleigh Severe Weather Preparedness Week website at http://www.weather.gov/rah/2022ncswpw for additional information about this important preparedness campaign.
NOTE FROM THE NEWS STAFF
Acme News & Randolph News Now will be participating in the statewide tornado drill by testing our alert system designed to show alerts on the site as well as to post the warning to all of our social media accounts. The text of the posts will be replaced with “This is a drill, this is only a drill”. These posts will remain on our accounts until around noon as we check the system.