• By Leigha Cordell, WS/FC Emergency Management
  • Posted Friday, February 28, 2020

Forsyth County Urges Residents to Practice Tornado Safety

Forsyth County, NC – Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management urges Forsyth County residents to prepare for severe weather that may occur with little to no warning this spring.

March 1-7 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina. Forsyth County officials urge residents to participate in the annual statewide tornado drill March 4 to practice their emergency plan in case severe weather strikes our state.

“Spring is quickly approaching and so is the potential for severe weather,” said Leigha Cordell, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Severe thunderstorms involve a variety of weather conditions such as hail, flash floods and tornadoes. These storms can develop so rapidly, that having a plan in place beforehand is critical. The best way to prepare is to have a family emergency plan, assemble a supplies kit and stay alert by listening to local radio, television or a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio for information on severe weather.”

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools and government buildings will participate in the statewide tornado drill Wednesday, March 4, at 9:30 a.m. The National Weather Service (NWS) will broadcast the drill over NOAA weather radio stations and the Emergency Alert System.

“Practice makes perfect rings true when it comes to preparing for severe weather. The time you take now to prepare will make all the difference if and when disaster strikes,” Cordell said. “I encourage all county residents, businesses and organizations to participate in the drill.”

In 2019, the NWS issued 158 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 51 tornadoes. There were 91 flood or flash flood events across the state. In addition, the NWS issued 710 severe thunderstorm warnings, and recorded 928 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds or hail.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management officials recommend having a family emergency plan in place so all members know where to go, who to call and what to do during a disaster. Officials also recommend staying alert by listening to weather radios that broadcast alerts from the National Weather Service.

Emergency officials recommend residents use the following safety tips:
• 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 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.

More information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness can be found online at http://www.readyforsyth.org/ or www.ReadyNC.org. Please take a moment to ‘LIKE’ ReadyForsyth on Facebook to receive the most recently updated information. Forsyth County emergency officials encourage residents to download the free ReadyNC mobile app.

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