March Marks Start of Active Tornado 'Season' in Georgia
GEMA's Ready Georgia encourages all Georgians to prepare, plan and stay informed about tornado threats
(ATLANTA) Georgia has already experienced its first deadly tornadoes this year, claiming a life and causing harm and damage in 15 counties across the state. March marks the start of a three-month active tornado season in the Southeast, making now the time for Georgians to get ready by preparing, planning and staying informed with Ready Georgia, the state’s emergency preparedness campaign.
“Tornadoes have terrorized both rural and urban areas in Georgia’s recent history, making anyone vulnerable to their hazards,” said Charley English, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. “Just last March, an EF-2 tornado tore a six-mile path through the heart of downtown Atlanta. The next day, twisters ripped through Polk, Floyd, Jefferson, Burke, Butts and Bartow counties. Three people died as a result of these storms, and seven counties received a federal disaster declaration. These tragedies and others clearly demonstrate why every Georgian needs to be prepared.”
Tornadoes have proven to be some of nature's most violent storms that can generate wind speeds of more than 250 mph and can appear out of nowhere with little warning. Being prepared to act quickly by having a plan in place and practicing how and where to take shelter is crucial to mitigating the effects of a tornado.
Prepare for a Tornado
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a tornado hazard.
- A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area, and you need to take shelter immediately.
- Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning. Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- Make sure NOAA Weather Radios are programmed correctly and prepare a Ready kit of supplies that may be needed following a tornado.
Plan to Take Shelter
- If local authorities issue a tornado warning or if you see a funnel cloud, take shelter immediately.
- If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room on the lowest floor possible.
- A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide adequate protection. Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.
- If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.
Stay Informed of Tornado Threats
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
- After a tornado, stay out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines.
- Help injured or trapped people. Check on others who may require special assistance, such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities.
Visit www.ready.ga.gov for more Georgia-specific tornado preparedness information and to create a customized Ready kit checklist and communications plan for your family or business.# # #
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.