Last Friday, we had our first severe weather outbreak of 2014 with three weak tornadoes and 59 high wind reports across the state. It was our first taste of spring in an unusually cool winter season. Keeping that event in mind, is it any wonder that North Carolina is observing Severe Weather Awareness Week March 2nd through 8th?
March 1st is the first day of climatological spring, and for us warm weather lovers, the season to follow can’t come soon enough. Spring brings both warm and cool days as winter slowly releases its grip on our temperatures.
Looking ahead to next week, we can already start to see that contrast. As of this writing, Sunday’s forecast high temperature will be in the upper 60s. Monday will be slightly cooler, and then we’ll see another cold snap following a cold front. With rain potential for early next week and a pretty dramatic change in temperatures, thunder could be a possibility, which would make it a fitting start to Severe Weather Awareness Week. Of course, it’s still early to tell, but it is something to keep an eye on.
The point of next week’s statewide observation is to get the public thinking about safety. At work, school, church, or even out shopping, do you know the safest place to be in the building? Where would you go if a tornado was imminent? Do you have a way to get severe weather warnings wherever you are? Do you know how to spot a severe thunderstorm cloud? What is the difference between a wall cloud and a funnel cloud?
Some of these questions can be answered easily. Some require a bit of training by experts. You’ll have your chance to consider all of these things next week, if you want to wait that long. Severe Weather Awareness Week events will include a statewide tornado drill on March 5th and typically great tips and facts from local meteorologists during their news broadcasts and on social media.
You can learn even more about tornadoes, lightning, and flooding at this year’s Stormfest on Thursday, March 6th, from 5-9pm at the Nature Research Center in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Downtown Raleigh. Normally, the free event is on a Saturday afternoon, so make note of the change. You can get more information by clicking on the event page on the museum’s website.