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Northampton County urges residents to practice tornado safety

JACKSON – Northampton County Emergency Management urges county residents to prepare for severe weather that may occur with little to no warning this spring.

March 3-9 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina. Northampton County officials urge residents to participate in the annual statewide tornado drill March 6 to practice their emergency plan in case severe weather strikes the state.

Northampton County Emergency Management would like to remind everyone that spring is quickly approaching and so is the potential for severe weather, severe thunderstorms involve a variety of weather conditions such as hail, flash floods and tornadoes. These storms can develop so rapidly that having a plan in place beforehand is critical. The best way to prepare is to have a family emergency plan, assemble a supplies kit and stay alert by listening to local radio, television or a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio for information on severe weather.”

Northampton County schools and government buildings will participate in the statewide tornado drill Wednesday, March 6, at 9:30 a.m. The National Weather Service (NWS) will broadcast the drill over NOAA weather radio stations and the Emergency Alert System.

Practice makes perfect rings true when it comes to preparing for severe weather. The time you take now to prepare will make all the difference if and when disaster strikes. Northampton County Emergency Management encourages all county residents, businesses and organizations to participate in the drill.

In 2018, the NWS issued 104 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 20 tornadoes. There were 184 flood or flash flood events across the state. In addition, the NWS issued 605 severe thunderstorm warnings, and recorded 137 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds or hail.

Northampton County Emergency Management officials recommend having a family emergency plan in place so all members know where to go, who to call and what to do during a disaster. Officials also recommend staying alert by listening to weather radios that broadcast alerts from the National Weather Service.

Emergency officials recommend residents use the following safety tips:

Know the terms: WATCH means a tornado is possible. WARNING means a tornado has been spotted; take shelter immediately.

Know where the nearest safe room is, such as a basement or interior room and away from windows, and go there immediately if you hear or see a tornado.

If driving, you should leave your vehicle immediately to seek safety in an adequate structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle, and do not stop under an overpass or a bridge.

If you are outdoors, and there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area. Watch out for flying debris.

Following a storm, wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves and gloves when walking on or near debris, and be aware of exposed nails and broken glass.

Be aware of damaged power or gas lines and electrical systems that may cause fires, electrocution or explosions.

More information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness can be found online at   www.weather.gov or www.ReadyNC.org. Northampton County emergency officials encourage residents to download the free ReadyNC mobile app.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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