South Carolina Severe Weather Preparedness Week
March 10th through the 16th is Severe Weather and Flood Preparedness Week in South Carolina. The week is designed to reinforce that severe storms, tornadoes, and floods can have a significant impact on our state, and as residents, we need to take the proper safety precautions. The National Weather Service and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) co-sponsor the week to promote awareness of the procedures that can help keep you safe during severe weather.
Meteorologists can track weather patterns to predict severe thunderstorms and flooding, but tornadoes are much more difficult to anticipate, and warnings may only be issued within minutes before striking. That is why it is essential to develop and practice an Emergency Action Plan at home and work in order to be as prepared as possible in the event of a tornado. Participating in tornado drills will help ensure that your family and co-workers are on the same page and know what action to take as well as their roles afterward. On Wednesday, March 13th at 9 AM there will be a statewide tornado drill, along with broadcast stations testing their emergency alert systems.
In South Carolina, the majority of tornadoes occur between March and May, but the ideal conditions for a tornado can happen at any time. That is why the National Weather Service has provided the following advice:
Before a Tornado
- Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
- Look for approaching storms.
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado
- If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
- Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If
there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away
from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
- If in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby
building or storm shelter.
- If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be
aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
After a Tornado
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
- Stay out of damaged buildings.