Thursday, April 2, 2009

Severe Weather Expected Tonight: Stay Alert, Prepare Now

Severe weather, including heavy rain, damaging winds, and the possibility of tornadoes, is expected to sweep through Georgia throughout the night. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency-Office of Homeland Security (GEMA-OHS) is encouraging everyone to monitor television or radio and tune into National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio to stay safe.

“Prepare now for severe weather,” says GEMA-OHS Director Charley English. “The first step is to make sure you receive the watches and warnings that will give you the critical seconds you need to take cover, even if you are sleeping.”Take the following steps to prepare for a tornado:
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a tornado hazard. 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 a tornado warning is issued. 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. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.

If a tornado warning is issued or if you see a funnel cloud, take shelter immediately.

Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation. A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection.

If you are caught outside and 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.

Monitor television, radio and NOAA Weather Radio for the latest updates.

NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations dedicated to broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service office. It is the best way to hear watches and warning from the National Weather Service (NWS), even if they are issued in the middle of the night.

GEMA-OHS has partnered with WSB-TV and Kroger stores statewide through its preparedness campaign, Ready Georgia, in a public service campaign promoting awareness of emergency preparedness and the need for in-home severe weather radios.

During the promotion, which runs through April 30, residents can purchase state-of the-art, digital alert Midland radios at a reduced rate of $29.99 from $49.99 and register to win one of 200 radios that will be given away by creating a profile at the Ready Georgia Web site, is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster response activities.

For more information on GEMA-OHS, visit To learn how to prepare for disaster, visit
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