WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Be weather aware!

Posted February 28, 2010

This winter has certainly be one to remember, and even though a couple of rounds of snow are still fresh in our memories, it is almost time to begin thinking about another kind of extreme weather: thunderstorms, tornadoes, and severe weather.  The very active weather pattern we have seen this winter is likely to continue into the spring. That could mean more chances for severe storms, flooding, and even tornadoes here in central North Carolina into the spring and summer.

Are you ready?

To help get you ready, this upcoming week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in North Carolina.  Each day this week – during our weathercasts on WRAL-TV as well as here on WRAL.com – we'll touch on a different severe weather topic:

  • Sunday: Introduction
  • Monday: Severe Thunderstorms
  • Tuesday: Lightning
  • Wednesday: Tornadoes
  • Thursday: Flooding
  • Friday:Outlooks, Watches, and Warnings (the alert process)
  • Saturday: Preparedness

Every family should have a severe weather plan.  What would you and your family do if a tornado struck?  Could you be self-sufficient without electricity or running water for a couple of days if roads were cut off due to fallen trees?  Do your children know what to do if severe storms strike while they are home alone?

While our science has improved greatly in the last few decades, severe weather can still strike quickly and without much warning.  Now – while it is still cold and quiet out – is the time to think about these topics, for when the storm is upon us, it is too late.  The next week's worth of severe weather topics should help get you thinking about severe weather and whether you are ready for the storms that will come.

One way to stay ahead of severe weather is with WRAL WeatherCall.  For a nominal fee, WRAL WeatherCall will monitor your home, workplace, or child's school 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  If severe weather threatens, Greg Fishel will call you with information about the storm and how to stay safe.  Learn more about WRAL WeatherCall and sign up today!


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  • Mike Moss Mar 6, 2010

    hi_i_am_wade, It turned out there was one EF0 tornado in California on Feb 27, so we actually just missed out on the "no tornadoes in Feb" item!

    Made_in_USA, Tornado stats for NC don't really show much of a meaningful trend one way or the other for our state over the past ten years, and is a number that is highly variable based on very short-term and localized storm conditions. For 2000-2009, these are the approximate number of tornadoes in NC... 23, 13, 11, 36, 67, 23, 31, 14, 64 and 33. If you restrict the numbers to the more intense EF2 and higher tornadoes, there is more of an uptick for the second half of the decade. Those numbers are... 0, 0, 1, 0, 2, 3, 2, 0, 13 and 5. Note that the years after 2005 have not been fully screened for possible duplicate reports yet, and may be anywhere from 0-3 or so high.

  • Made In USA Mar 2, 2010

    This El Nino-affected winter we have had has some benefits with it. The groundwater is still thristy and needs nourishment. Our lakes are full, and the not-too-long-ago drought has faded in the news. Plus, studies show (as Mike Moss said) that an El Nino tends to surpress tropical systems. That is good news. A money-saver El Nino may be.

    The bad that came with this El Nino included record heating bills for a people struggling financially. Also came too much moisture falling as snow, crippling many communities. El Nino has also caused damages to our roadways, leaving budget-stricken governments a bill they can't pay. I have never seen our roads as bad as they are today. All that ice has taken a toll on them. So many potholes everywhere.

  • hi_i_am_wade Mar 2, 2010

    I just found this out about Tornadoes, straight from NOAA. This is the first time in our recorded history in which February had no Tornadoes. The Tornado history goes back to 1950.


  • hi_i_am_wade Mar 2, 2010

    If I remember correctly, I read a study that showed the number of tornadoes has dropped significantly in the US over the past few years. Is there some kind of measurement for North Carolina that keeps a record of severe storms and tornadoes? If there is, what has been the trend the past few years?

  • Mike Moss Mar 2, 2010

    Made in USA, There have been some limited studies done examining any statistical and weather-pattern-based links between the El Nino Southern Oscillation complex and severe weather in the southeast and North Carolina. The results indicated no statistically significant correlation between El Nino and severe weather events in our state (that is, plenty of variability but on average no more or less severe weather in El Nino years than in "neutral" years), but there was an elevated number of severe weather reports associated with La Nina years (the opposite of El Nino, with colder than normal equatorial Pacific ocean temperatures).

    When it comes to Atlantic hurricanes, El Nino tends to have a suppressing effect on the numbers. However, it is too early to know if that will be the case next season, since there are some indications from models that the current El Nino may be fading during the spring and early summer.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Mar 1, 2010

    Lovely weather here in NC. If it's not ice storms it's tornadoes, if not those, then hurricanes.

  • Made In USA Mar 1, 2010

    What aboout an El Nino and it's impact on a hurricane season?

  • Made In USA Mar 1, 2010

    I was wondering if the current El Nino would be having an impact on our chances of severe storms during the coming spring and summer months. Woul it be proper to conclude that an El Nino weather pattern will increase our chances of tornados?