National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina is March 5-11, 2017
Statewide Tornado Drill scheduled for Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 AM


March 5-11, 2017 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina.  This week the National Weather Service and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety are teaming up to bring this severe weather safety campaign to all of North Carolina’s residents.  With warmer weather quickly approaching, now is the time to prepare for the severe weather season.  If each North Carolina resident would take a few moments this week to learn about severe weather safety and implement a safety plan, then we would all be better off when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes inevitably strike our state and the likelihood of injury and fatalities caused by severe weather could be minimized.

Schools and government buildings statewide will hold tornado drills Wednesday, March 8, at 9:30 a.m. to practice their emergency plans. Test messages will be broadcast on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios and the Emergency Alert System. All North Carolinians are encouraged to participate in the drill.




The keys to severe weather safety

Know Your Risk

The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazarous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family.  Check the weather forecasts regulary and visit to learn more about becoming prepared.

Pledge to Prepare and Take Action

Pledge to prepare by visiting Take the first step to make sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  This includes building an emergency kit, filling out a family safety and communication plan, keeping important papers in a safe place, and having multiple sources for weather alerts.

Be an Example

Once you have taken action to prepare, get involved, and share your story with your family and friends.  Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know that they are safe.  This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others.


This year's North Carolina Severe Weather Preparedness Week will combine multiple awareness weeks while focusing on tornadoes, large hail, lightning, flash flooding, and damaging straight-line winds. Click on each image to learn more about staying safe during that type of weather hazard.

Tornado Safety Large hail safety Lightning safety Flash flood safety wind damage safety


Do you know what the difference is between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning?

Click any one of the images below to find out more about the differences.

watch Warning


Statewide Tornado Drill Information

North Carolina’s annual statewide tornado drill for 2017 will take place on Wednesday, March 8, at 9:30 AM EST.  Every school, business, work place, and family across the state is strongly encouraged to participate in the statewide tornado drill.

Here are some key points to remember about the drill:

  • The drill will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System via the Required Monthly Test (RMT).  There will not be an actual Tornado Warning issued.
  • This drill and RMT will take the place of the usual weekly NOAA Weather Radio Alert test (RWT).  That is, there will not be a weekly radio test done between 11 AM and Noon on that day.
  • Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers (including the Midland WR-100 that many schools have) do not sound an audible alert for the RMT product, but instead, may have a blinking light on the display to indicate that an RMT was received.  As such, when the RMT for the statewide tornado drill is initiated at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, there's a good chance that your NOAA Weather Radio will not sound an alarm. 
  • Since your NOAA Weather Radio may not sound an alarm at the time the RMT is issued, you will want to do one of the following:  simply plan to start your tornado drill own your own at 9:30 AM; or, you can manually turn on your NOAA Weather Radio receiver around 9:25 AM, and simply listen to the audio broadcast to hear when the RMT is issued, which will mark the beginning of the statewide tornado drill.
  • There will be no followup statements issued by the NWS to mark the end of the statewide tornado drill.   It will simply be over when your group, school, business, organization, or family feel that you have adequately practiced your tornado shelter procedures.
  • If there is actual severe weather occurring on the morning of March 8, 2017, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed.  The alternate date for the drill is Friday, March 10, 2017 at 9:30 AM EST.


Daily Public Information Statements

As a committed leader for weather-readiness, each day during the preparedness week the NWS will be highlighting ways individuals can prepare for the severe weather season by knowing their severe weather risks, taking action, and serving as an example.

Daily Topics:


Severe Weather Safety and Preparedness Graphics

Please help us spread the word about severe weather preparedness by linking to or saving and posting these graphics on your web page or social media sites. Click on each graphic thumbnail for a larger version.


Severe Weather Safety Resources

Please use these links to help you with your severe weather planning and safety education. 


Other useful information

Please use these links for more information about North Carolina's Severe Weather Preparedness Week.