WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Get prepared: Wednesday's storms are first severe threat of 2016

Posted February 23, 2016

For the first time this year, the forecast includes the likelihood for severe storms across our area tomorrow, primarily during the late morning and afternoon hours. A recent statement from the Raleigh National Weather Service office said pockets of straight-line wind damage were a “near certainty,” and they expect to be issuing tornado warnings as it plays out.

We’ve been thinking a lot about wintry weather as of late, and we haven’t needed our severe weather plans for quite a while. And while we have a statewide severe weather awareness week, the atmosphere doesn’t have to follow our schedules.

So, with all that in mind, would you mind spending a few minutes NOW thinking about these things with me?

  • First things first – Do you have multiple ways to get severe weather warnings? Personally, I have WeatherCall, the WRAL Weather Alert App, the “Wireless Emergency Alerts” that come on my cell phone and a NOAA Weather Radio — all in addition to TV and radio. (Why multiple? Power goes out, cell phone batteries get drained, communication channels get swamped, and so on.)
  • What are your plans tomorrow? Will you be outdoors or somewhere unfamiliar midday through afternoon?
  • Where would you take shelter if storms came while you were at work? At home? If your kids spend any time at home after school alone, how will they get warnings and do they know where the best shelter area is?
  • Are you a manager, supervisor, teacher, principal or anyone who is responsible for people other than yourself? Are you familiar with your organization’s severe weather plans and shelter locations?
  • So, you know what your shelter spot is, but is it ready? Ours is a closet that tends to collect stuff.Time to clean it out!
  • Will your plans have you on the road at all during this time? Avoid driving during severe weather at all — even more so if a tornado warning is issued.
  • Do you keep your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and so forth all charged and ready to go?

For most of us, none of these things are really new. Plus, we often get the opportunity to think about these things during a severe weather awareness week and our annual tornado drills or with some smaller weather events early in the season. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the atmosphere is going to give us the extra time this year.

Bottom line: TODAY is the day to plan and get ready. A period of rough weather is likely tomorrow! Think through your day and take a few simple steps NOW to help keep you and your family safe.


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  • Janet Ghumri Feb 24, 2016
    user avatar

    I would much rather be over prepared than the opposite. Come on with the warnings, I have my Mack- Daddy hurricane kit all restocked and ready (BTW, yes, that is it's name, and my whole family knows where Mack-Daddy is at all times, JIC). This is North Carolina, sweetums, and we get the full range of Mother Nature's love and wrath. Maybe we won't need it, today or tomorrow, but we will need it, and that's why it's packed and ready. Warning? Watch? Impending doom? At least that's one thing I can do to be prepared. Now, if you good folks will excuse me, I will be under my bed, waiting out the storm. JK

  • Shane Taylor Feb 24, 2016
    user avatar

    Oh no!!!! RAIN!!!!!!!!!

  • Sonja Yagel Feb 24, 2016
    user avatar

    Hey guys, don't you all at WRAL are over doing the rain storm? This why so many people do not listen to warnings when the weather is REALLY going to be bad because of the over playing prior warnings. I wish you and WTVD knew how dumb it looks with those women riding around in cars looking at rain or in some cases nothing going on.

  • David McCabe Feb 23, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    What exactly do you mean by spotted? Most tornado warnings nowadays come from being detected on radar. The computer system that interprets the radar return is programmed to detect things like the distinctive "Hook Echo" of a developing or developed tornado and automatically tracks it for further analysis by a meteorologist who then would initiate the warning if necessary. What the gentleman from the NWS is saying is he expects to see a lot of tornadoes develop tomorrow.

  • Dana McCall Feb 23, 2016
    user avatar

    "they expect to be issuing tornado warnings as it plays out."

    Since warnings are only issued when a tornado has been spotted, this seems like an awkward sentence.

  • Brandon White Feb 23, 2016
    user avatar

    Everybody panic! The sky is falling!