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Statewide Tornado Drill Held Wednesday

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley has declared March 16-22 as Severe Weather Awareness Week to remind citizens of the potential for damaging weather in North Carolina and to provide information on how to best protect themselves and their families from storms, particularly tornadoes.

"We have seen our share of hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms," Easley said, "and everyone needs to know what actions to take when they occur again. Severe Weather Awareness Week helps us focus on preparedness and protecting our families and loved ones."

An annual statewide tornado drill was held at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday. The National Weather Service broadcast the alert through National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration weather radios. Schools, government agencies and businesses are encouraged to participate.

In the past decade, North Carolina has been hit by more than 395 tornadoes, 13 hurricanes and tropical storms, 56 severe winter storms, 18 ice storms and 12 fatal lightning strikes.

"People are less likely to be injured when they know what to do if faced with a tornado," Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Bryan E. Beatty said. "These drills are especially important for the school children who will have this safety information with them for the rest of their lives."

A "watch" means that weather conditions are favorable for the development of a particular weather event such as a tornado or a severe thunderstorm. A "warning" means that a tornado or another severe weather event has been sighted and people in the area of the warning should take immediate protective action.

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