Learn to stay safe during SC severe weather awareness week - FOX Carolina 21

Learn to stay safe during SC severe weather awareness week

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A tornado tore through Murphy, NC, Friday as severe weather moved through the South and Midwest. (Mar. 3, 2012/FOX Carolina) A tornado tore through Murphy, NC, Friday as severe weather moved through the South and Midwest. (Mar. 3, 2012/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

State officials hope that a week of awareness about severe weather will help South Carolinians be prepared if a big storm hits. 

Severe weather awareness week began Sunday. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service will spend this week reminding people that severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods are significant hazards in the state. 

State officials encouraged schools to participate in an annual tornado drill on Tuesday. 

Organizers hoped it would be a good test of communication systems and safety procedures necessary when serve weather strikes.

Throughout the week FOX Carolina is sharing severe weather safety tips to keep you and your families safe when severe weather strikes the Upstate and western North Carolina.

On Monday, Chief Meteorologist Kendra Kent shared information on the second leading storm-related killer--lightning.

Kent said lightning is one of the most dangerous parts of severe thunder storms and kills on average 55 people nationwide every year, and injures hundreds.

If you see lightning or hear thunder, Kent said it is always best to get indoors. If you're in a car, Kent said you may be safe if you avoid touching anything in the car while the storm is really bad.

"Pull over, get your hand off the steering wheel," said Kent. "Feet off the pedals and don't mess with the radio or the air conditioner control."

On Tuesday, Meteorologist Alex Wilson shared advice on what to do in severe storms producing tornadoes.

Wilson said one of the biggest threats from tornadoes are downed trees, which often leads to injuries and even fatalities. 

If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, Wilson said to stay away from windows or exterior rooms that are near trees.

Stay with FOX Carolina Weather and foxcarolina.com all week long for the latest in severe weather awareness tips and information.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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SIDEBAR - Severe weather terms

Tornado Emergency: Issued when significant, widespread damage is expected to occur and a high likelihood of numerous fatalities is expected with a large, strong-to-violent tornado. You should immediately More>>

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