North Carolina Severe Weather Statistics

It’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina.

Severe storms can happen anytime of the year here, but they occur more frequently in March, April, and May.

Now is a good time for us all to refresh our memory on how severe weather can impact our part of the country:

  • North Carolina averages 26 tornadoes, 3 tornado fatalities, and 39 tornado injuries each year.
  • April is the peak month for tornadoes in the state. A secondary peak occurs in November.
  • Tornadoes occur more frequently in the afternoon and early evening but can develop anytime of day or night. The deadliest time for tornadoes can actually be at night since it is more difficult be be alerted of warnings that are issued.
  • Severe storms don’t have to produce tornadoes to be deadly. Straight line wind gusts from severe storms can cause extensive damage similar to that of a tornado.
  • In the last 5 years, 16 people have been killed and another 70 injured by straight line winds from severe thunderstorms in North Carolina.
  • A storm is classified as severe if it produces damaging winds or hail one inch in diameter or larger.
  • In the last 5 years, baseball sized has been reported 8 times in North Carolina. Golf ball size hail has been reported 200 times.

When severe storms and tornadoes threatens, it is best to seek shelter in a small, windowless, interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. A basement, interior hallway, closet, or windowless bathroom often provide the best protection.