Severe Weather Awareness: Tornado Safety
This week marks Severe Weather Awareness Week in central Georgia. Many people in the area ask why we observe severe weather awareness week in February. It's a simple answer - not only is severe weather possible year round, but the prime opportunity for severe weather occurs in the Spring and Summer months, which are just a few weeks away. Now is the time to prepare.
Severe Weather Awareness Week provides a great chance to learn about severe weather, actions to take when severe weather strikes and review your families preparedness plan.
Here is the week's schedule:
Monday - Family Preparedness
Tuesday - Thunderstorm Safety
Wednesday - Tornado Safety (Tornado Drill)
Thursday - Lightning Safety
Friday - Flooding
As noted above, Wednesday's topic is Tornado Safety.
Tornadoes are possible any time of the year in central Georgia, but are most common from March to May. And while tornadoes are possible any time of the day, they are most common in the mid-afternoon to early evening time frame.
To practice tornado safety procedures, you must first know when the threat of tornadoes exists. For that, you must know the difference between a watch and a warning.
A watch is issued when conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Watches are usually issued a few hours in advance of the severe threat in order to give you advanced notice. Watches will typically cover many counties at once.
A warning is issued when tornado has been detected and/or spotted. When placed under a warning, you should take immediate action to protect life and property. A warning will typically last 30 to 45 minutes and include a smaller area, usually based on very specific counties that a storm is currently threatening.
You should strongly consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio so that you will have a way to be notified immediately when watches and warnings are issued. Through a partnership with WGXA and Midland Weather Radios, you can purchase a great NOAA Weather Radio at any Walgreen's stores in central Georgia.
One of the most important safety tips is to know your area so that you can track storms. Know what your county outline looks like on a map and know what counties border your county. If warnings are issued for the counties to your west, it's safe to assume that your county may be next.
Once a warning is issued, if you are inside, you should seek shelter in an interior room or basement and work to stay away from windows. If outdoors, like flat in a nearby ditch and cover your head.
An important reminder - mobile homes offer little protection from tornadoes. If a watch is issued, you should work to seek alternate shelter until the threat passes.
For more information on tornado safety, consider visiting this website from the National Weather Service: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/?n=swaw_tor
We'll discuss lightning safety on Wednesday.