WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

As peak severe weather season nears, NWS urges readiness

Posted March 8

— North Carolina has seen fewer tornadoes in recent years than in the past, but the National Weather Service is still urging residents to be ready in case severe weather hits.

Wednesday marks the middle of Severe Weather Awareness Week, when North Carolina holds a statewide tornado drill. From March through May, though, peak severe thunderstorm season can also bring damaging winds, large hail, flash flooding and lightning.

Nick Petro, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS, said North Carolinians need to prepare for severe weather events even though the overall number or tornadoes is down.

"Only one out of the last five years did we see near normal numbers of tornadoes in North Carolina," Petro said. "I think statistically, we're due for a busy year.

"I don't know if it's going to be this year, but I think our luck's going to run out eventually and we're going to see another busy tornado year at some point."

Petro said the National Weather Service found that the greatest number of tornadoes in the state occurred along the Interstate 95 corridor.

"If you're not in the I-95 corridor, don't think 'Oh, I'm fine, I'm never going to see a tornado,'" Petro said. "That's where the core of the tornado action typically is on any given year."

The elevated tornado count along the interstate is caused by warmer temperatures and more humid air, which fuels the type of thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes.

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