In Georgia, the average number of days with reported tornadoes is 6. Tornadoes have been reported throughout the year, but are most likely to occur from March to May. Tornadoes are also most likely in the mid afternoon to early evening time frame, but can occur any time of the day or night. Thirty-seven percent of all tornadoes are classified as strong or violent, and these tornadoes are most likely to occur in the month of April. In Georgia, tornadoes are often hard to see as they are wrapped in areas of rain and hail. The hilly terrain can also limit your ability to see a tornado.

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air, extending from the thunderstorm that is in contact with the ground. Tornadoes can vary in shape, size and intensity. Most tornadoes are weak, lasting a few minutes and producing winds of less than 100 mph. However, a few tornadoes are strong or even violent. These tornadoes last from 20 minutes to over an hour and can produce winds of between 100 and 300 mph. 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 is between a watch and warning are. A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop, but there is not an imminent threat. A Tornado Warning means a tornado 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 area forecasts to know if threatening weather is possible when you are planning outdoor activities.

If a tornado is imminentand you are in a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter on the lowest floor, such as a basement, or a small interior room closet, bathroom or hallway – and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Remember to always put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

Stay away from windows.

Get out of automobiles. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. If you are caught outside or in a vehicle lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression, but be aware of possible flooding, and cover your head with your hands.

Mobile homes offer little protection from tornadoes. You should leave a mobile home and go the lowest floor of sturdy nearby building or a storm shelter.

For further information on severe thunderstorms please visit – The Storm Prediction Center

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