North Carolina Severe Weather Awareness Week (in 2018, that's March 4-10) inspires me to write this, but it's meant to be useful anytime.
Your severe weather preparedness hinges on three points:
1) knowing your risk
2) staying alert
3) knowing how to take action
Your First Alert Weather Team can help you with these points!
KNOWING YOUR RISK
Heavy thunderstorms are regular visitors to southeastern North Carolina.
By definition, all thunderstorms bring lightning and intense precipitation. Of particular concern are storms with potentially deadly cloud-to-ground lightning and flooding rainfall.
Many times, southeastern North Carolina thunderstorms garner a "severe" tag from the National Weather Service. These especially ferocious storms feature extra dimensions like 58+ mph wind gusts, hail 1+ inches in diameter, and / or a tornado.
Sunny days can turn stormy in an instant, so stay alert!
Keep abreast of your First Alert Forecast on television, online, and on the WECT Weather App. First Alert Meteorologists will highlight days and day-parts that feature an enhanced risk of adverse weather, so you'll know what times threatening weather will be more likely than others.
Of course, you can't stay weather-aware *constantly*. You have work, you have errands, you have to sleep... That's where the WECT Weather App comes in, in particular. Set your app to follow your location and customize its various alert types to blare, chirp, or beep at you to your liking.
If radar detects heavy precipitation near the store at which you're shopping, you'll know... If a storm begins to produce lightning near your child's soccer field, you'll know... And if you're sleeping and the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning for your neighborhood, you'll know... with the WECT Weather App.
The most universal safety precaution in thunderstorm situations is taking shelter.
When lightning is a particular concern, a house or a car qualifies as good shelter. If neither a house nor a car is available and you're stuck outside as lightning approaches: avoid trees, find a ditch or relative low elevation spot, and crouch down on the balls of your feet until the threat passes.
In "severe" thunderstorm situations - recall, those are those with damaging winds and/or large hailstones - you'll want to seek *sturdy* shelter. And in tornado situations, add three more steps: get to the lowest floor of the shelter, seek its most interior room, and protect your head.
Staying sheltered in flood event is also your best course, provided your shelter is not in a designated flood or flash flood zone. If you absolutely must travel in a flood situation, never try to traverse a water-covered roadway. The water may be deeper and swifter than you think... or the underlying road bed may be gone altogether!
THANK YOU for being in-the-know, staying vigilant, and prepared to take action... and for trusting your First Alert Weather Team!