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Dare County Urges Residents and Visitors to Be Ready for Severe Spring Weather!

Dare County Emergency Management officials urge residents and visitors to be ready for severe weather that will occur during the transition from winter to spring on the Outer Banks. All residents and visitors are urged to prepare for and to be alert to potentially damaging thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

“While the spring is the peak tornado season, severe thunderstorms can strike quickly throughout the year,” said Drew Pearson, Dare County’s Emergency Management Director. “The best way to be ready is to plan and prepare. It’s critical to have emergency plans in place, put together an emergency supplies kit and listen for weather alerts.”

In 2014, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued 81 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 36 tornadoes that killed one and injured 34 people. Combined, the tornadoes caused more than $22 million in damages. The NWS also issued more than 632 severe thunderstorm warnings, and recorded more than 686 incidents of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and/or large hail. The severe storms killed three people and injured seven others, resulting in nearly $3.5 million in damages.

While severe thunderstorms occur on a recurring basis across Dare County, tornadoes aren’t as common, but they do occur. Most arise with the passage of tropical weather events like a hurricane but Dare Country has experienced non tropical storm related tornadoes during the spring months, most recently on April 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM in Duck. Luckily no injuries were reported in Duck, but a March 31, 1987 a tornado that arrived at 4:32 AM on Hatteras Island left seven injured.

Dare County Emergency Management officials encourage the use of a weather radio that broadcasts alerts from the National Weather Service whenever severe weather occurs. Many tornado fatalities have occurred at night when people are asleep and less likely to receive a warning without a weather radio.

Officials also recommend people 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 We encourage all residents and visitors to download the free ReadyNC mobile app.