Severe weather can happen any time of year, any time of day. Climatology records show that the majority of severe weather in Eastern North Carolina occurs between March and August. Our area is also more likely to see severe weather occur between the hours of 2 pm and 10 pm. ECU has experienced everything from thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, damaging high winds, and flash flooding.
Those who have spent a summer in the Greenville area understand that thunderstorms can pop-up in the afternoon or evening hours without much notice, often passing within an hour. Although they are short-lived, they are still dangerous, especially with excessive cloud-to-ground lightning. Occasionally we experience a severe thunderstorm, with damaging winds (in excess of 58 mph), hail (> 1 inch), and possible tornadoes. It is important that ECU faculty, staff, and students need to become familiar with the Greenville climate and check weather forecasts frequently throughout the severe weather season. The forecast and conditions can change often.
Knowing the difference between these two terms can save lives. The National Weather Service (NWS) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) are responsible for issuing many of the watches and warnings we receive regarding hazardous weather conditions. Below are the definitions of a generic watch and warning (for more information, visit www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/):
Once the University has decided to close, cancel or delay classes, the notification is sent through ECU Alert. This information can be found on the University home page, emergency hotline, campus email, and SMS text messages (users will only receive text if subscribed).
When the NWS issues a tornado warning for Greenville, ECU must be mentioned or within the warning polygon, ECU Police immediately send out an ECU Alert notification, to include all systems. When the NWS issues a severe thunderstorm warning for Greenville, ECU must be mentioned or within the warning polygon, ECU Police will send an ECU Alert notification if there are athletic or large outdoor events taking place. When the warnings expire, ECU Police will send an all clear message through the same ECU Alert systems so folks can return to normal operations.
Did You Know? Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the core of the storm. Make sure to postpone activities when storms are forecasted.
Did You Know? Pitt County alone has seen 16 tornadoes in the last 14 years, ranging from EF0 (65 - 85 mph wind gusts) to EF2 (111 - 135 mph wind gusts). In the last 3 years, Pitt County has seen winds of up to 75 mph during a severe thunderstorm.
Did You Know? Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities than any other storm-related hazard, in fact more than 50% of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related.
Turn Around, Don't Drown!