Tornadoes in North Carolina

March 10, 2023

tornadoes in North Carolina

Tornadoes are one of the most dangerous and common natural disasters in the United States. They can occur at any time and can cause widespread destruction if left unchecked.

Tornadoes are a very real threat in North Carolina, especially in the eastern part of the state. Though the mountains protect many areas from tornadoes, a thunderstorm can still produce a tornado and cause severe damage.

Tornadoes are caused by thunderstorms

Tornadoes are spawned from thunderstorms in warm, moist, unstable air that is along or ahead of cold fronts. These thunderstorms also can produce large hail, rain and damaging winds.

Most tornadoes occur in the spring when severe thunderstorms develop. However, they can happen throughout the year, especially in parts of the Southern High Plains and western states that experience slope flow of unstable air.

If you see a rotating wall cloud or an approaching funnel cloud, go to the safest place. If you can’t get inside, lie flat in a low spot and use your arms and hands to protect your head.

Tornadoes are dangerous

Tornadoes are one of the most destructive storms that can occur. They can produce violently rotating columns of air that are capable of reaching speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.

In North Carolina, tornadoes are usually located in central and eastern parts of the state. These areas have sandy soil that heats the air above it.

They are triggered by thunderstorms that produce strong winds. When the winds in a tornado combine with the impact of flying debris, they can be deadly.

If you hear the roar of a tornado, get to a safe place immediately. Go to a basement, storm cellar or the lowest floor of a sturdy building.

Tornadoes can happen any time

In North Carolina, the peak of tornado activity occurs between April and early June. Another spike happens in September and another in November, when strong cold fronts move into the state as it transitions into winter.

To be safe, know where you are and take shelter if a tornado warning is issued. The safest place to be is in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.

The most common injuries and deaths come from flying debris and a collapsed roof, so find something sturdy you can get under and hold on to to protect yourself. Use your arms to shield your head and neck.

Tornadoes are a natural disaster

Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning strikes, floods and wildfires can occur at any time of year. They can cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage and social and economic disruption.

Tornadoes are cyclonic storms that produce winds that can exceed 200 miles per hour for brief periods of time. They are typically funnel-shaped, spinning counterclockwise around a low-pressure center.

If you hear a tornado warning, get out of your car immediately and go to a safe place indoors. A basement, storm cellar or the lowest level of a sturdy building is the best shelter.

Tornadoes are a hazard

Tornadoes are one of the most destructive and dangerous natural disasters in the country. They can cause significant property damage, kill people and disrupt the flow of traffic and water supplies.

When a tornado is detected, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning. This means that a tornado is on its way and that you must take shelter immediately.

People in motor vehicles, mobile homes and those living in buildings with weak construction are at greatest risk of being killed by a tornado. They should exit their cars and seek shelter in a sturdy building or other location.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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