About Us

Learn what causes hurricanes and tornadoes at StormFest

Learn all about severe weather, how animals react prior to natural disasters and meet local meteorologists at StormFest

Become a severe weather spotter, give your own TV weather forecast and see “Tornado Alley in 3D” for FREE

RALEIGH — Find out why hail gets as big as a baseball, how animals survive a tornado or how rescuers gear up and respond after a hurricane. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts the 4th annual StormFest on Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free. 

Dozens of exhibitors will be on hand to answer questions, give live demonstrations and workshops on what causes hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.

Learn about why weather happens, how to predict it, participate in weather experiments with the National Weather Service. ABC-11 will bring a “green screen” and you can even forecast the weather like a real meteorologist. You can also learn how you and your family can prepare when weather turns dangerous and which resources are available to help with storm response and recovery. Exhibits outside on Bicentennial Plaza include emergency response vehicles, animal rescue vehicles, and news trucks. 

The most popular highlight of StormFest is “Ask the Experts,” where visitors can meet meteorologists from WRAL-TV 5, ABC-11, NBC-17 and News 14 Carolina and pick their brains on all things weather. Those discussions will be held in the WRAL 3D Theater (main building) at 10:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Following the talks, each meteorologist will sign autographs for fans.

At 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., be sure to check out “Tornado Alley in 3D,” back for one day only. Every showing is FREE courtesy of WRAL-TV 5. At 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., a special weather-related “Story Time”  inspired by the  book, “Pink Snow and Other Weird Weather,” will be held in Windows of the World (3rd floor, main building) where children of all ages can hear fun stories about “weather gone weird” and meet live animals from the book. 


WRAL Digital Theater, Main Building, 1st Floor

10 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 4 pm — Tornado Alley in 3D (Free).

10:45 am — “Ask the Experts” Panel Discussion:  Morning Meteorologists Elizabeth Gardner (WRAL), Don Schwenneker, “Big Weather” (ABC-11), Bill Reh (NBC-17) and Lee Ringer (News14).

2:30 pm — “Ask the Experts” Panel Discussion: Chief Meteorologists Greg Fishel (WRAL), Chris Hohmann (ABC-11), Wes Hohenstein (NBC-17) and Gary Stephenson (News14).

Windows on the World, Main Building, 3rd Floor

10 am & 1 pm  Weird Weather Stories

SECU Daily Planet, NRC

1 pm — Social Media Severe Weather reporting, Nick Petro, National Weather Service.

Free Workshops, NRC 4th Floor, Environmental Conference Center

11 am — SKYWARN Basic Weather Spotter Training

SKYWARN is a National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer severe weather spotters. SKYWARN volunteers support their local community by providing the NWS with timely and accurate severe weather reports. These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to inform communities of the proper actions to take as severe weather threatens. The key focus of the SKYWARN program is to save lives and property through the use of the observations and reports of trained volunteers.

3:45 pm — SKYWARN Advanced Weather Spotter Training

The advanced portion of the National Weather Service SKYWARN spotter training class is meant to cover meteorological topics in a more technical nature, and covers topics related to anticipating severe thunderstorm development and weather radar interpretation. SKYWARN Basic Spotter Training is a prerequisite to attending this class.

Participating Groups

Salvation Army, CAMET NCDA&CS Emergency Programs Division, National Weather Service, NC Climate Office, News 14 Carolina, ABC-11, NBC-17, WRAL-TV, SKYWARN, NC Division of Air Quality, NC Baptist Men, NC Wing Civil Air Patrol, the Goddard School, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, NC State .

For more information on StormFest, call Miranda Wood at 919.707.9885 or via email at miranda.wood@naturalsciences.org.


The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St.) and its new wing, the Nature Research Center (121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Hours: Mon.- Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the web at www.naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John Skvarla., Secretary.

Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 25, 2013