Learn How to Survive the Storm on Thunderstorm Safety Day
GEMA’s Ready Georgia encourages residents to become familiar with steps to mitigate thunderstorm threats
(ATLANTA) - Georgia experienced 504 thunderstorms during 2009, which posed dangerous threats to communities throughout the state, including lightning, heavy rain that could cause flooding, strong winds, hail and the possibility of tornadoes. Nearly 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe meaning they have winds of 58 mph or higher, hail at least three-quarters of an inch and may produce a tornado.
Because Georgia’s humid weather conditions are favorable for thunderstorms, Governor Deal and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security urge residents across the state to prepare for the hazards severe storms can bring during Severe Weather Awareness Week on Feb. 8, Thunderstorm Safety Day.
“Many people underestimate the dangers that thunderstorms bring; it’s critically important to take shelter as soon as you hear thunder,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “Now’s the time to make a Ready kit and create a custom communications plan to ensure the best response during the unexpected.”
The greatest threats from severe thunderstorms are damaging straight-line winds and large hail. These winds can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph and produce damage similar to a tornado. They also occur an average of 19 days per year in Georgia and are most common in the spring and summer months, cropping up frequently in July.
So residents know what to do to stay safe when thunder rumbles in their area, GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign offers tips on how to prepare, plan and stay informed:
Prepare for Thunderstorms
- Create a Ready kit of emergency supplies in case you lose power or must remain at home.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a thunderstorm hazard. A thunderstorm watch means there is a possibility of a thunderstorm in your area. A thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
Plan for Thunderstorms
- Develop an emergency communications plan so family members know who call during severe thunderstorms.
- If a thunderstorm is likely in your area, postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
- Avoid showering or bathing during a thunderstorm. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Watch for darkening skies, lightning, increasing winds.
- Go quickly inside a home, building, or hard top automobile, if possible.
- If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible but do not lie flat on the ground.
- If on open water, get to land and shelter immediately.
- Things to avoid during a thunderstorm: isolated trees in an open area, hilltops, open fields, the beach, a boat on water, isolated sheds or anything metal (tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles).
Stay Informed about Thunderstorms
- Listen to battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio or traditional radio for the latest thunderstorm updates.
- If you are advised to take shelter, do so immediately.
- A corded telephone should only be used in an emergency, but cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use.
During Severe Weather Awareness Week, Ready Georgia is giving residents the chance to win a NOAA Weather Radio and Ready kit, a $100 value, courtesy of The Home Depot. From Feb. 7-11, visit Ready Georgia’s Facebook page and click on the “Contests” tab. Then, enter the contest by simply submitting a severe weather photo and a step you have taken to prepare.# # #
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive website, free mobile app, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.