Weather

Meteorologists urge preparedness during Severe Weather Awareness Week

Posted March 8

— When a tornado touches down, it is often caught on video. From security camera to smart phones, people have plenty of ways to capture the images and share them. This raises the question - are tornadoes forming more often? Or, are we able to see them in a way we didn't before?

A look at raw data from the last 10 years shows the number of tornadoes in North Carolina is unpredictable. But, since the peak outbreak in 2011, Meteorologist Nick Petro thinks the state is due for a banner year.

"The numbers for the last few years have been down for tornados, but it's not going to stay that way all the time. Now's the time to get ready, we want to take the opportunity now when the weather is good, to practice and prepare for when the weather is bad," Petro said.

This week marks severe weather awareness week, a time Petro and his partners at The National Weather Service want to make sure everyone is ready for spring storms.

"March, April and May are usually the busiest months for severe weather. We're talking tornados, large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding and lightning," Petro said.

According to WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel, there is no discernable trend that North Carolina is seeing an increase in the number of tornadoes.

"April 16, 2011 was a terrible, terrible day, but we had stronger tornados March 28, 1984," he said.

The number of storms per year does not really matter either.

"We can't predict the exact number of tornadoes we're going to see in North Carolina this year," Petro said. "But I will tell you, it only takes one tornado to change your life."

Petro recommends identifying a safe place in your house, or a safe shelter elsewhere. And, have a plan to get there if you find yourself in the path of a storm.

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