Southern Pines, N.C. — Moore County students and teachers got a taste this week of the dangers of severe storms. The communities of Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Pinehurst share a mobile storm simulator to train community groups, school staffers and children what to do in a weather emergency.
Inside, when a weather alert is triggered, wind roars, the room shakes and the lights flicker.
"It was pretty scary and loud," said Terry DeFoor, a kindergarten teacher at Pope John Paul Catholic School. "The noise of the wind and the weather outside was louder than I ever imagined it would be."
John Stone, deputy chief of the Southern Pines Fire Department, said experiencing the sights and sounds of a weather emergency helps people understand the threat and be better prepared should a real storm hit.
"It really shows you how quickly things can change," he said.
The roar of the wind was so loud, teacher Abbey Flores said, that it made communication difficult.
"We found we couldn't really talk very well to each other," she said.
The teachers said it was worth a fright to understand what to do when disaster strikes.
"I believe it's a very real scenario and having this type of training was good for all of us," Flores said.
The ability to anticipate and plan can be a key to survival, Stone said.