Few weather events are as talked about or as legendary as tornadoes. Sure the smaller ones that do little damage quickly fade to memory (unless it was your property that was damaged), but the larger ones or the ones that hit highly populated areas, are talked about for years. Even with all of the storm reports available to the general public, there are still many myths about twisters that need to be debunked.
2013’s Severe Weather Awareness Week comes to a close on Saturday. It’s an annual, coordinated effort to remind people that spring is coming and bringing with it an increased risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Do you feel more aware?
Wind exists in all levels of the atmosphere, but most notably at the surface and in the upper levels. While we’re used to hearing about the surface winds associated with storms, fronts, and more gradual changes in the weather, we might not pay as much attention to those upper level winds, which are referred to as the jet stream. Within the jet stream, there are areas of faster wind called jet streaks.
Lowes is breaking ground on a new store in Sanford on Wednesday. It replaces the one destroyed by a tornado on April 16.
The store, which will be built on the same site, will have 103,000 square feet of retail space and an adjacent 34,000 square foot garden center.
It is expected to be finished by mid to late September, said Jaclyn Pardini, a spokeswoman for the Mooresville home improvement chain.
According to the company, the store represents a $10 million investment.
The re-opening will also return the store's 160 employees to Sanford. After the tornado, all the workers were placed in other area Lowes stores, Pardini said.
In addition, in honor of its employees, the company is donating $750,000 to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund. That's in addition to money raised via customer donations at Lowe’s stores nationwide between April 20 to May 22. That effort raised nearly $60,000 that also will go to the American Red Cross.
Butterball has donated more than 18,000 pounds of turkey to charitable organizations in North Carolina and Alabama to help victims of the recent severe weather in both of those states.
Butterball is the largest turkey producer in the nation. The company employs 80 people in Garner, where it moved its headquarters in 2008.
“Our thoughts and concerns go out to the many individuals who were impacted by the devastating tornadoes and floods, and to those across the country who struggle to provide food for their families,” said Walter Pelletier, president of Maxwell Farms. “Butterball is a proud supporter of hunger relief and we are thankful for the opportunity to join with such valiant organizations that help meet the needs of the community not only in times of distress, but every day.”
Butterball donated more than 8,000 pounds of turkey products to Alabama organizations and more than 7,500 pounds of products to the Food Bank of Central & Eatern North Carolina and 2,500 pounds to Warren's Chapel Original Free Will Baptist Church in Micro, N.C.
UNC-TV is joining WRAL's Here to Help Disaster Relief Telethon, which will simulcast on both stations Wednesday, April 20, from 7 to 8 p.m.
The telethon will raise money to help North Carolinians devastated by Saturday's tornadoes. In addition to the evening telethon, phone lines will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday (call 1-800-424-9725) and donations can also be made securely online.
All money donated will fund relief missions now underway by the Triangle Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, the North Carolina Baptist Men’s Association and the Salvation Army of Wake County.
Programming note: 'Nightly Business Reoprt,' which usually airs on UNC-TV at 7 p.m., will air at 1:30 a.m. instead.
I was just looking at some remarkable photos that one of our photojournalists, Chris Seward, shot today up in North Raleigh. He photographed each house on both sides of a street. The randomness of the tornado that hit this subdivision could be seen in these photos. One home, some damage. The home next door, demolished. The next home, minor damage. And on and on, up and down the street.
I've never lived in a community hit by a tornado. My experience runs more to hurricanes. I learned last weekend that the difference is all about narrow violence and randomness.
When we were hit by Fran in '96, everyone was hit by Fran. Trees were down everywhere. Power was out everywhere. Saturday, most of the state, most of the Triangle, was fine. But not the unlucky towns and neighborhoods and streets in the path of one of the twisters that barreled through North Carolina.
This became clear to me late Saturday afternoon, as our reporters and photographers and editors were scrambling to cover the storms. I drove up Capital Boulevard to check out the damage north of downtown. Capital was fine, except for traffic signals being out. (Incidentally, people in Raleigh are very polite. At intersections from downtown to Mini City, motorists sorted out who had the right of way and traffic flowed despite the lack of traffic lights.) There was no damage.
A couple of blocks in on Trawick Road, things were very different. Trees were lying on top of houses, power lines and roads. People were already trying to clean up, but mostly folks looked stunned.
When Fran hit us 15 years ago, we had plenty of warning that a dangerous hurricane was coming up the coast. The only question was whether it would bounce off the shore or come in. When it arrived, it came up I-40 and belted the Triangle, but it wasn't like we weren't prepared.
Saturday, if you weren't watching TV or monitoring the web or listening to the radio, you probably didn't have any idea that tornadoes were on the way.
After a tornado-prompted day off, Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh will reopen for classes Tuesday.
“Although there was severe damage, we worked very hard to get the campus back to a place where it is safe for our students, faculty and staff,” said Saint Augustine’s College President Dianne Boardley Suber in a news release. “We understand the importance of upholding the integrity of our academic program and carrying out our obligation to complete the semester. Although the work will continue on campus — to include working with Progress Energy to restore power to all of the campus — we felt the need to get our students back in the classroom.”
It was a rough weekend on campus, and the college's counseling center will continue working with students, Suber said.
“The effect of the damage will be felt on campus for years to come. We look forward to establishing an organized method to provide our partners and friends an opportunity to assist in the rebuilding of Saint Augustine’s College’s campus,” Suber said.