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Mother Nature Didn't Wait For the Active Tornado 'Season'

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency says residents need to prepare for severe storms and tornadoes.

The tornado that struck Floyd County on Thursday, Feb. 24, damaged dozens of homes and killed one person. The tragic event serves as a reminder that disasters can occur with little warning.

According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), the state’s resource on disaster preparedness, March marks the start of the active tornado 'season' in Georgia.

Here are a few tips to prepare now for these potentially disastrous storms.

Prepare for a Tornado

  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify tornado hazards: a tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area; a tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area, and you need to take shelter immediately.
  • Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning.
  • Prepare a Ready kit of emergency supplies, including a first aid kit, NOAA Weather Radio and a three-day supply of food and water.

 Plan to Take Shelter

  • If local authorities issue a tornado warning or if you see a funnel cloud, take shelter immediately.
  • Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
  • If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
  • A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.
  • If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.

 Stay Informed about Tornadoes

  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
  • After a tornado, be sure to remain out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines.
  • Help injured or trapped people. Check on others who may require special assistance, such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

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