CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management urges residents to prepare for severe weather that may occur with little to no warning this spring.
March 6-12 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management urges residents to participate in the annual statewide tornado drill March 9 to practice their emergency plan in case severe weather strikes our state.
"Spring is around the corner but so is the potential for severe weather," said Division Chief Robert Graham, Deputy Director of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management. "Severe thunderstorms can develop rapidly and include a variety of weather conditions such as hail, flash floods, and tornadoes. The best way to prepare for quick action 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."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management and the Charlotte Fire Department will participate in the statewide tornado drill Wednesday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m. at Charlotte Fire Headquarters. The National Weather Service (NWS) will broadcast the drill over NOAA weather radio stations and the Emergency Alert System.
"All Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in the drill. Knowing what to do and practicing what to do is part of being prepared when severe weather strikes," Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said. "The time you take now to prepare will make all the difference if and when disaster strikes."
In 2021, the NWS issued 194 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 21 tornadoes. There were 109 flood incidents across the state. In addition, the NWS issued 1,114 severe thunderstorm warnings, and recorded 101 large hail events and 344 damaging thunderstorm wind events.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg 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