Day Two of Severe Weather Preparedness Week Emphasizes Thunderstorm Safety
GEMA/HS Ready Georgia campaign provides simple steps to help Georgians stay safe during potentially devastating storms
(ATLANTA) – Georgia experiences more than 50 days with thunderstorms each year, according to the National Weather Service. Because they are so common, Georgians often neglect the danger these powerful storms can bring. To combat that complacency, Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) have designated Feb. 3 as Thunderstorm Safety Day and are encouraging all Georgians to develop a plan and be prepared to stay safe during a severe thunderstorm.
Thunderstorm Safety Day is the second day of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, when Georgians are asked to take one simple action each day to make sure that they are ready for all kinds of severe weather. On Thunderstorm Safety Day, individuals are encouraged to learn the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and a severe thunderstorm warning. 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.
“Understanding weather terms may seem academic, but it is an important part of knowing how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth. “When a severe thunderstorm watch is issued, you are being asked to stay aware of the potential for a strong storm to come your way. A warning means that you need to be ready to take shelter, and it’s definitely not the time when you want to be out on the road.”
While thunderstorms can happen at any time, they most frequently occur in the spring and summer months, peaking in July. Nearly 10 percent of these storms are classified as severe, meaning they have winds of 58 mph or more, hail at least three-quarters of an inch or they may produce a tornado. However, all thunderstorms have the potential to be dangerous because they can produce strong winds, lightning, hail and flooding.
The GEMA/HS Ready Georgia campaign offers the following simple steps to ensure all Georgians are prepared:
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
What you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Get inside a home or building.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide no protection from lightning. However, the frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- 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. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts, or download the Ready Georgia mobile app.
Avoid the following:
- Natural lightning rods such as tall, isolated trees in an open area.
- Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.
- Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Anything metal — tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs and bicycles.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather visit, www.ready.ga.gov or download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app. To learn about specific risks in your area, contact your local emergency management agency.
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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.