Since 1950, North Carolina has averaged 14 tornadoes and two tornado-related fatalities each year. 1998 was a record year in North Carolina with 66 confirmed tornadoes through the end of November. The previous record year was 1996, when 51 tornadoes hit the state.

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Tornadoes can occur with little or no warning. You may have only a short time to make life or death decisions. It is important to know the basics of tornado safety so that you can survive should one strike.

  1. Meet with your family to create a plan. Discuss how you will respond to any emergency, including an approaching tornado. Pick two places to meet; a spot outside your home for an emergency such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as your "family check-in contact" for everyone to call if the family gets separated.
  2. If a tornado is approaching go to an inner hallway or smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Go to the center of the room. Try to find something sturdy you can get under and hold onto to protect you from flying debris and/or a collapsed roof.
  3. Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to damage from high winds. Even if your mobile home has tie-downs you should seek safe shelter in a more substantial structure.
  4. Never try to outrun a tornado in a car. If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning issued, get out of your vehicle and find safe shelter.
  5. If no shelter is available, lie down in a low area using your arms to cover the back of your head and neck.
  6. Be alert to what is happening outside. Some tornado danger signs are:
    • Large hail Dark, often greenish sky.
    • An approaching cloud of debris.
    • Loud roar (often described as sounding like a freight train).
    • Dying winds and "still" air often occurring at the trailing edge of a thunderstorm.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO PREPARE FOR ALL TYPES OF DISASTERS. KEEP ENOUGH SUPPLIES IN YOUR HOME TO MEET EACH MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY'S NEEDS FOR THREE DAYS. ASSEMBLE A DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT.

INCLUDE:

  • A 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day).
  • Food that won't spoil.
  • A change of clothing and footwear per person.
  • One blanket or sleeping bag per person. A first-aid kit (include any prescription medicines).
  • A portable flashlight.
  • A portable radio (don't forget extra batteries).
  • Cash (the automated bank machines won't work without electricity.
  • Any special items for infants, elderly, disabled family members.

YOUR FAMILY IS DEPENDING ON YOU !

ARE YOU PREPARED ?

 
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Last Updated: February 21, 2005