As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 6-12, Elkin City schools will practice its tornado and severe weather plans during a statewide tornado drill March 9 at 9:30 a.m.
“Severe thunderstorms, lightning and tornadoes can strike any time, any place even during school hours,” Dr. Randy Bledsoe, Elkin City Schools superintendent, said. “The best way to keep Elkin City School students safe is to practice what to do and where to go should severe weather strike during school. Elkin City schools have school specific procedures in place to ensure the safety of its students, staff and faculty.”
In 2015, the National Weather Service issued 25 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded nine tornadoes. There were also 98 flash flood warnings issued and 133 flash flood incidents recorded across the state. The NWS also issued more than 528 severe thunderstorm warnings, and recorded more than 542 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and/or large hail. Combined, severe storms, flash flooding and tornadoes caused nearly $12.5 million in damages.
State and county emergency management officials recommend having a weather radio that broadcasts alerts from the National Weather Service whenever severe weather occurs. Many tornado fatalities have occurred at night when people are asleep and less likely to receive a warning without a weather radio.
Emergency officials recommend the following safety tips:
• 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.
• Know the terms: WATCH means a tornado is possible. WARNING means a tornado has been spotted; take shelter immediately.
More information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness can be found online at www.ReadyNC.org. Emergency officials encourage residents to download the free ReadyNC mobile.