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North Carolina Severe Weather Awareness Week
Mar 4th - Mar 10th, 2012

Sunday    Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday   

This week has been declared North Carolina's Severe Weather
Awareness Week for 2012. All week long the National Weather Service
will be issuing informative messages to help you prepare for severe

Each day we will cover a different topic. Today's topic covers
severe thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service considers a thunderstorm severe if it
produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter and/or wind 58 mph or

Over the past 10 years there have been over 7000 reports of
large hail and damaging winds statewide resulting in fifty million
dollars in damage. Severe thunderstorms typically start to develop
in early March. North Carolina's peak season for severe
thunderstorms will run from the entire spring and summer and not
end until the late fall.

In 2011, warnings issued by the national Weather Service continued
to provide an average lead time of 19 minutes for severe winds
and hail, with a detection rate of 90 percent. The receipt of
accurate and timely warnings is a vital part of any severe weather

Severe thunderstorms also produce deadly lightning. It is worth
noting that the National Weather Service does not issue warnings for
lightning. You should always be aware of lightning danger when
thunderstorms are nearby. A good rule of thumb to live by is when
thunder roars go indoors.

Severe thunderstorms in North Carolina can produce hail as large as
baseballs. Hail stones this size fall to the ground at over 100 mph.
While hail is not usually life threatening, these large chunks of
ice are driven by strong winds and cause serious damage to
roofs, automobiles, and crops.

Hailstones grow in thunderstorms with strong updrafts. These strong
upward moving currents of air keep the hail suspended inside the
thunderstorm allowing the chunk of ice to grow larger and larger.
Once they become too heavy for the updrafts to keep suspended,
they fall to earth as hail. The large hail season for eastern North
Carolina runs from March through July, typically peaking in May.

Strong gusts of wind from a thunderstorm called downbursts or
straight line winds are another danger. Nationally, over the past
30 years, nearly as many people have been killed by straight line
winds as from tornadoes.These brief gusts of wind can reach speeds
in excess of 100 mph. Thunderstorm winds such as this can impact
large areas and create widespread damage equivalent to a tornado.

Lines of well organized thunderstorms, called squall lines, also
frequently move across north carolina. These dangerous systems
can be very explosive and race across the area and into the
coastal waters at over 50 mph causing wind damage over entire
counties. Damaging wind events in North carolina can start as early
as February, and can continue into October, with peak activity from
from May through early August.

You can protect yourself by hiding from the wind and lightning.
Stay away from windows when storms approach, and seek shelter in an
interior bathroom or closet when the wind really starts to blow.
your best line of defense against severe thunderstorms is to stay
informed. There are so many great outdoor activities across the
state of north carolina and severe weather can bring a quick end to
a days pleasure. listen to noaa weather radio, television or local
radio for the latest forecasts and possible threat of thunderstorms
and severe weather. if warnings are issued, take action to protect
your family and property. Remember being safe is a lot better than
being sorry.

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National Weather Service
Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office
533 Roberts Rd, Newport, NC 28570
(252) 223-5737
Page last modified: March 1, 2012
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