Forecast for the next three months: hot, humid, with a chance of thunderstorms. Summer thunderstorms are not something to be taken lightly – especially in North Carolina where thunderstorms bring danger in the form of lightning, high winds, falling trees and occasional tornadoes. In fact, North Carolina has the second highest number of lightning strikes in the country every year, and although tornadoes are not frequent in our state they do occur and are very dangerous or even deadly.
Make sure you know what to do if thunderstorms are predicted for your area with plans customized to where you are and what you are doing. For example, if there is a high probability of severe thunderstorms, playing golf or going for a sail may not be a good idea. If you are participating in these or any outdoor activities, make sure you have a contingency plan and be prepared to seek safe shelter if a storm does develop. Hiding under a tree or umbrella until the storm passes is NOT considered a safe or smart contingency plan.
And, if you are looking for something to do this weekend, join us at StormFest, on Saturday, June 18 from 9 am to 5 pm at the Museum of Natural Sciences. Visitors can become Meteorologist for a Day, watch presentations on Storm Chasing, learn more about preparedness and tour emergency response vehicles and mobile hospital.
Barb Bisset is the executive director of the WakeMed Emergency Services Insitute.