Hurricane Season Threatens Georgia Beyond its Coast
Hurricane Preparedness Week educates Georgians about hurricanes and associated hazards
(ATLANTA) Though hurricanes are commonly associated with coastal communities, the reality is that the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1, brings threats of storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding to all Georgia communities. In an effort to mitigate the effects of these hazards, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign supports Hurricane Preparedness Week from May 24 through May 30.
“Our studies show that the vast majority of Georgians have not conducted a hurricane evacuation drill or created a Ready kit,” said Charley English, GEMA and Homeland Security director. “It only takes one storm to devastate your community, but being prepared makes you your own first responder if that storm should hit this year.”
After the history of hurricanes is observed on May 24, Hurricane Preparedness Week continues with a focus on hurricanes’ most dangerous threats and how to prepare:
- Monday: Storm Surge—Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of winds swirling around a hurricane. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard, so extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand such forces.
- Tuesday: High Winds and Tornadoes—Hurricanes can produce high winds and tornadoes that add to a storm's destructive power. Tornadoes are most likely to occur in the right-front quadrant of a hurricane. However, they are also often found elsewhere embedded in rainbands, well away from the center of a hurricane.
- Wednesday: Inland Flooding—Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from Georgia’s coast. More people have died from inland flooding than storm surge, as some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
- Thursday: Hurricane Forecasting—Staying informed about hurricane forecasts is critical to being prepared for these threats. In forecasting, a hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in an area, and a hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected to hit.
- Friday: Be Prepared—To be fully prepared for hurricane season, every household in Georgia should have a Ready kit of emergency supplies for both the home and the car in case of evacuation. A customized Ready kit checklist can be created at www.ready.ga.gov, where a list of basic supplies is also available.
- Saturday: Take Action—Take action to prepare for hurricanes and their hazards by developing a family disaster plan and evacuation route. By practicing evacuation plans, a household can be ready to leave if instructed by authorities.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting activity during the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through the end of November, but no matter what predictions look like, experts agree that preparation is crucial to survival.
“Being prepared before a hurricane hits is the only way to ensure that you will be ready,” said English. “You can try to make preparations in the midst of a storm’s formation, but it might be too late.”
Detailed information about preparing for hurricane season and the hazards associated with hurricanes is available at www.ready.ga.gov.
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 (GEMA) 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 Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.