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Time to prepare for severe weather

Time to prepare for severe weather

Time to prepare for severe weather


A cold front that pushed violent weather across the state Wednesday was a good example of why people should observe Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia, Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn said.
Gov. Nathan Deal declared Feb. 4-8 as a week to promote awareness and safety precautions in case of dangerous weather conditions.
“This annual observance is designed to educate Georgians about weather-related topics, including family preparedness, weather radios, thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning and floods,” Wynn said.
Local efforts to observe the week will include a tornado drill in conjunction with a statewide event “sometime Wednesday.”  The exact time is not announced, since a tornado would not be anticipated, and an unannounced drill will better simulate a real emergency.
“We’ll have a full drill and will send the (weather alert) tone out,” he said. Local schools will conduct tornado drills at the same time, and Bulloch County Central 911 will conduct tests through “reverse 911”alerts in which the center will generate calls to county citizens alerting them of the drill.
Deal approved the week as a time to promote awareness and educate citizens on severe weather safety, Wynn said. Monday, will focus on family awareness and weather radios.
“Get a kit, make a plan and be informed,” he said.  “Weather radios (which he said can be found at most retail stores or online) can help citizens receive information on weather alerts at the same time emergency management does.”
Severe weather preparedness kits should include a gallon of water per person a day for three days; enough nonperishable food for each person for three days; a manual can opener;  battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both; flashlight and extra batteries; first aid kit; a whistle to signal for help; moist wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation, according to www.ready.gov.
Statewide focus Tuesday will be on thunderstorm safety, Wynn said.
According to the National Weather Service, thunderstorms can produce deadly straight-line winds that are as damaging as tornadoes. Straight-line winds can exceed 125 mph and are the No. 1 cause of thunderstorm deaths, with 90 fatalities a year.
Thunderstorms include lightning, which causes 55-60 fatalities and more than 400 injuries annually. They can produce hail, up to softball size, that can be deadly and cause billions of dollars in crop and other damages, the weather service says.
Wednesday will be the day tornado drills are held statewide as the focus settles on tornadoes.
When the National Weather Service issues a “tornado warning” for the drill, Bulloch County Emergency Management will alert the community, Wynn said.
If a real tornado occurs, the best plan of action is to seek shelter in an interior room, he said.
According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes can have winds in excess of 200 mph; cause an average of 60-65 fatalities a year; can be up to a mile wide and remain on the ground for 50 miles, leaving destruction in their wake.
Wynn said statewide focus on Thursday, Feb. 7, will be lightning safety, and flooding safety will be the topic Friday, Feb. 8.
Keeping up with weather news by checking websites, watching for news alerts and keeping a weather radio close will help keep you and your family safe, he said.
“Please use this time to prepare your families and businesses for disaster,” he said.  “Please go to www.ready.ga.gov for more information on preparedness or call our office at (912) 489-1661.”

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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