With severe storms predicted to move through our area over the next 12 hours, Wake County is closely monitoring the forecast. Emergency Management leaders encourage residents to plan now for the possibility of power outages, wind damage and tornados.
“It’s easy to forget that we’re right in the middle of severe weather season,” said Josh Creighton, deputy director for Wake County Fire Services. “Even though the weather threat is higher just north of us, now is the time to make an emergency plan and ensure you’re prepared for possible severe weather tonight.”
The National Weather Service has placed Wake County (and all of central North Carolina) under a Level 3 (Enhanced Risk) for severe storms this afternoon. While the threat is increased along and north of U.S. 64, with current modeling showing the highest risk of tornados along the North Carolina/Virginia border, the risk cannot be ruled out locally. Wake County residents should be prepared for some severe weather this afternoon and a possible additional weather front with slightly less intense storms through 9 and 10 p.m.
Wake County emergency officials recommend residents use the following safety tips:
- Have a family emergency plan in place so all members know where to go, who to call and what to do during a disaster.
- 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, such as a basement or interior room, is and stay away from windows. Go there immediately if you hear or see a tornado.
- If driving, leave your vehicle immediately and seek safety inside a 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 no shelter is 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.
Today’s weather threat is also a good reminder of the importance of being prepared for hurricanes. National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs through tomorrow, and the Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1.
Wake County residents are encouraged to sign up to receive ReadyWake emergency alerts, which provide important information by text, email or phone in the case of a tornado or other emergency. Learn more at readywake.com. Officials also recommend staying updated by listening to weather radios that broadcast alerts from the National Weather Service.
More information on tornadoes and emergency preparedness can be found at readync.gov.