This week is severe weather awareness week in Georgia. Today we
will discuss severe thunderstorm safety.
In Georgia... the biggest threat from severe thunderstorms is
damaging straight line winds and large hail. Straight line winds can
reach speeds in excess of 100 mph and produce damage similar to a
tornado. These winds occur... on average... 19 days per year in
Georgia. These events have occurred in every month of the year... but
are most common in the Spring and Summer months... peaking in the
month of July. Large hail affects the state an average of 7 days per
year... with April being the peak month. Generally... most large hail
is between 1 and 2 inches in diameter in Georgia.
The factors used by the National Weather Service to determine if a
thunderstorm is severe are winds greater than 57 mph and hail
greater than 3/4 inch in diameter or about the size of a penny.
Typically... a severe thunderstorm lasts about 30 minutes and occurs
in the afternoon and evening hours during the Spring and Summer
months. However... severe weather is possible any time of the day and
any time of the year. A special class of severe thunderstorms called
supercells are particularly violent and can last for several hours.
Tornadoes are often produced from these supercell thunderstorms.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your family.
The best thing to do is to have a plan of action in place before
threatening weather develops. Know what the difference between a
watch and warning are. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions
are favorable for severe thunderstorms to develop... but there is not
an imminent threat. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means a severe
thunderstorm has been detected and an imminent threat to life and
property has developed.
Know your area so you can track storms. Listen to a weather
radio... local TV... or radio reports. Make sure you have battery
backup. Monitor any forecasts if threatening weather is possible and
you are planning outdoor activities.
If severe weather is imminent... and you are inside... move to a
shelter such as a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor
of the building. Remember... it is best to put as many walls between
you and the outside as possible.
If you are caught outside... try to seek shelter in a sturdy
For further information on severe thunderstorms... please visitwww.Spc.NOAA.Gov