March, April and May are the most common months for tornadoes in Georgia, and knowing how to prepare for such an emergency can help families stay safe.
“Families should practice their emergency plan well before the impending threat of a tornado,” said Pam Knox, UGA meteorologist.
A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible; a warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. During a tornado warning, seek shelter indoors or in a parked vehicle. If living in a traditional frame home, Knox said the safest place to go is the basement or an interior room on the lowest level, one that is small and without windows. When time allows, Knox recommends bringing a mattress and/or pillows into the room to use as protection from flying debris. Seeking shelter outdoors should be a last resort. If no other shelter is available, get into a parked car but don’t drive away.
“Get in your car and buckle up,” Knox said. “The seat belts and air bags will help keep you safe should the car be lifted up. And, the car also will protect you from lightning and hail.
“Don’t try to seek shelter under an overpass,” Knox said. “The wind can be even stronger under these structures.”
If staying outside is the only option, move to the lowest possible location. For more information, download a severe weather preparedness guide at http://tinyurl.com/28volft.