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Dare County Urges Residents & Visitors to be Ready for Severe Spring Weather


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

“While spring is the peak tornado season, severe thunderstorms can strike quickly throughout the year,” said Drew Pearson, Dare County’s Emergency Management Coordinator. Pearson said, “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.”

Severe thunderstorms can be common across Dare County and the threat of tornadoes is real. Most coastal tornadoes arise with the passage of tropical weather events like a hurricane but Dare County has experienced tornadoes during the spring months, most recently in April 2011 in the Town of Duck. No injuries were reported but damages were estimated to be over $766,000. On Hatteras Island, a tornado in March 1987 left seven injured.

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

The following safety tips are recommended: 

  • 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, away from windows, and go there immediately if you hear or see a tornado.
  • If driving, leave your vehicle immediately to seek safety in an adequate structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle.
  • If you are outdoors, and there is no shelter available, take cover in a low- lying flat area. Watch out for flying debris.

More information on tornadoes and overall emergency preparedness can be found online at Residents and visitors may download the free ReadyNC mobile app. To receive updates during activation of the Dare County Emergency Operations Center, subscribe to receive email alerts at

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