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STATE ADVISORY: Severe weather expected across NC Thursday

Gov. Roy Cooper reminds North Carolinians to make sure their families are prepared for the severe weather threatening a large portion of the state over the next 24 hours.

“With severe weather expected tomorrow, people should prepare to monitor emergency alerts and review their family emergency plan,” Cooper said. “Everyone should pay attention to the forecast and remember to follow all recommended actions from their local public safety officials.”

The threat of severe weather is greatest along and southeast of the US 1 corridor; however, severe storms will be possible statewide tomorrow. Storms are likely to move into western North Carolina during the morning hours, and continue east across the state through the afternoon and evening. Some strong storms may continue overnight Thursday near the coast.

Damaging wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour and large hail of one to two inches in diameter are possible with these storms, as are the possibility of strong tornadoes. During a severe storm, the safest location at home or work is an interior room or closet away from windows.

Localized flooding is possible, particularly in southwestern counties Wednesday night through Friday and across areas where severe weather develops Thursday. Strong northerly winds could produce minor to moderate sound-side flooding across portions of the Outer Banks and areas adjacent to the Pamlico Sound and Neuse River on Friday and Saturday. Additional beach erosion and ocean overwash will also be possible along the northern Outer Banks.

The State Emergency Operations Center will continue to monitor the situation along with our local partners and is activated and ready to support local response through its SERT partners to any weather impacts.

Residents should download a weather app to their cell phone or use a NOAA Weather Radio to receive weather alerts like tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings. It’s important to have an alert method that will wake you up if you are sleeping, so you can take protective actions if necessary.

Families should identify a safe place to take cover in their homes in the event of a tornado warning. That should be an interior room on the home’s lowest level, away from doors or windows. Everyone in the family should know the plan, and be prepared to act on it if a tornado warning is issued for your area.

If Your Power Goes Out

Report your outage immediately to your local electric company. Don’t rely on your neighbors to report your outage.

Stay away from downed power lines, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized.

Immediately report downed lines to your local electric company.

Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours.

Pack refrigerated items, such as milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.

Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.

If using portable stoves, kerosene heaters, or lanterns, make sure that the area is sufficiently ventilated.

North Carolina and its State Emergency Response Team, along with local emergency management, are experts in responding to severe weather situations. Even as COVID-19 efforts are underway, the state is preparing for severe weather and encourages the public to do the same.

If you need additional preparedness information, visit ReadyNC.org.