North Carolinians Participate In Severe Weather Awareness Week

Less than two weeks after an EF-1 tornado touched down in Wayne County, thousands of people in government offices and schools across North Carolina stopped what they were doing for a tornado drill.

The drill took place at 9:30 Wednesday morning and is part of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

More than 500 students at Southwest Middle School in Onslow County took part in the statewide drill. Text messages were also broadcast on the Emergency Alert system across the state.

The drill is practiced once a year so students know to get to a safe place with no windows. They're also taught to cover their heads to protect themselves from flying debris.

Spring and Fall are typically peak tornado seasons, but they can happen any time of the year. We found that out recently with at least one reported tornado on February 21.

Southwest Middle School Principal Steve Clarke said, "It's kind of amazing that we're dealing with ice and snow in Eastern Carolina and in the same day we're doing a tornado drill. It was just about a week ago, we did have some tornadoes hit in ENC so we want to be prepared as best as we can."

Emergency officials stress to always be prepared to leave your home quickly in a storm with an emergency kit ready. They also suggest keeping important papers in a safe place.