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The old saying goes, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”, but when it comes to spring weather in North Georgia, it can be as erratic and unpredictable as a wild hog. As we welcome the arrival of spring in our area, we also need to be prepared for the possibility of severe weather.

We joined the National Weather Service this past February 5-9 in marking Georgia Severe Weather Preparedness Week to emphasize the importance of proactive planning for adverse weather conditions. This is a good time to remind you that to ensure your safety during this time of year, it is crucial to stay informed and ready for the common types of severe weather in our region.

The key to protecting yourself during severe weather threats is to have quick access to information. To set yourself up for success, make sure you have multiple ways to receive severe weather updates.

Remember that tornado sirens are meant to alert those outdoors only. Ensure you can receive weather alerts even when you are indoors. Here are some tips to stay informed while inside:

  • Install a weather radio in your home.
  • Download a weather app on your mobile device and enable notifications.
  • Sign up for your county’s alert notification system to receive timely emergency announcements, including weather warnings.

Severe weather can bring about dangerous conditions such as strong winds, hail, lightning, flooding, and tornadoes. If you encounter severe weather while driving, seek shelter immediately and avoid driving through flooded areas. The safest place to be during severe weather is indoors.

Prepare yourself, your family, and your home for severe weather by taking the following precautions:

  • Identify the safest location in your home for shelter during a tornado, preferably on the lowest floor and away from windows and doors.
  • Discuss severe weather procedures with your family and practice your response plan.
  • Have flashlights and batteries on hand to navigate potential power outages effectively.

Understanding the Difference Between Watches and Warnings:

  • Severe thunderstorm or tornado watches indicate a risk of severe weather with some uncertainty in severity or timing. These watches are usually issued for larger areas like your local county or multiple counties that surround you.
  • Warnings are issued when severe weather poses a threat to life or property and is either occurring or imminent. Warnings are specific to the affected areas.

Stay alert, stay prepared, and stay safe during this severe weather season. Utilize every opportunity before disaster strikes to plan ahead!

For more information, please refer to the Safety page on the National Weather Service website.