Monday, February 28, 2011

Perfect timing ... severe weather threat

The first full-fledged severe weather threat of 2011 is possible this afternoon and evening in the Charlotte region, and fittingly enough, it comes on Severe Weather Awareness Week in the Carolinas.

Emergency management officials in both states will be calling attention this week to the safety procedures needed during severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. There could get some real-time drills later today, as a strong cold front advances.

South Carolina plans to hold a test tornado warning at 9 a.m. Tuesday. In North Carolina, the drill will be at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Those drills are a rite of spring in schools, where students and staff review what to do during a severe storm.

North Carolina had 26 tornadoes last year, and there were 25 in South Carolina.

An interesting fact ... there were nearly 900 severe thunderstorm events in North Carolina last year, and only Kansas, Texas and Nebraska -- three states in the Midwest/Southwest tornado alley -- had more.

Fortunately, there were no deaths last year in the Carolinas, but more than a dozen people were injured.

In the Charlotte area, there were tornadoes in Gaston and Rowan counties in March; Lancaster and Lincoln counties in July; Burke County in September; and Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln and Rutherford counties in October.

Stay tuned today. We'll keep you updated on weather developments.