Anniversary of Tornado Outbreak Spotlights Importance of Storm Prep

Severe weather preparedness events planned March 5–11

In late March 2022, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms and multiple supercells swept across the Southeast, including Wake County, producing 90 tornadoes. It was the largest tornado outbreak of the year and tore off roofs in the Triangle.

Those fast-moving storms came just weeks after staff at Wake County Northern Regional Center in Wake Forest participated in a tornado drill to practice for just this kind of emergency. So, when the real tornado warning came, staff did exactly as they were trained – they followed their emergency action plan and headed to the building’s designated safe areas.

The incident drove home the fact that while severe weather can occur with little to no warning, practicing builds confidence and reduces panic so you’re not scrambling in an emergency. And that’s what Wake County Emergency Management officials want residents to remember as we kick off Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina.

“The best time to plan for any disaster is before it strikes, and a little advanced planning can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe,” said Shinica Thomas, chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners. “I encourage residents to take a moment during Severe Weather Preparedness Week to think about your emergency plan, update your kit and talk to your family about what you’ll do in the event of an emergency.”

Severe Weather Preparedness Week runs from Sunday, March 5, through Saturday, March 11.

Tornado Drill

As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, a statewide tornado drill will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 8. The National Weather Service will broadcast the drill over NOAA weather radio stations and the Emergency Alert System. Wake County Government is encouraging employees and residents to participate.

Emergency Kit Building Event

Not sure what should go in your emergency kit? Wake County Emergency Management, North Carolina Emergency Management and Wake County Community Emergency Response Teams will host informational events at four local Lowe’s Home Improvement stores on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m.–noon.

  • Apex: 1101 Beaver Creek Commons Drive
  • Morrisville: 1920 Northwest Maynard Road
  • Cary: 2000 Walnut St.
  • Raleigh: 4831 Grove Barton Road

Stop by the display to get a list of what should go in your kit (and find out about special deals!), learn how to sign up for ReadyWake emergency alerts, and talk one-on-one with experts about how you can prepare for severe weather.

Staying Safe

In 2022, the National Weather Service issued 107 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 21 tornadoes. There were 82 flash flood warnings issued and 70 actual flood incidents. In addition, the NWS issued 752 severe thunderstorm warnings and recorded 951 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging wind and hail. Statewide, damages totaled more than $8.3 million.

Wake County Emergency Management officials recommend residents use the following safety tips:

  • Sign up for ReadyWake alerts. You can choose to receive notifications about local emergencies via phone, text or email.
  • Have a family emergency plan in place so all members know where to go, who to call and what to do during a disaster. Helpful tips are available at
  • 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 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 emergency preparedness can be found at

Press Release