ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -
Prepare for Tornadoes, Thunderstorms and Lightning
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify weather hazards, including understanding the difference between a watch and a warning.
- A thunderstorm watch means there is a possibility of a thunderstorm in your area.
- A thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon. If you are advised to take shelter, do so immediately.
- 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.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a warning. 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.
Make a Tornado and Thunderstorm Plan
- If a thunderstorm is likely in your area, postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
- Avoid showering or bathing during a thunderstorm. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Watch for darkening skies, lightning, increasing winds.
- Go quickly inside a home, building, or hard top automobile, if possible.
- If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible but do not lie flat on the ground.
- If on open water, get to land and shelter immediately.
Things to avoid include
- Tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Hilltops, open fields, the beach, a boat on the water, isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Anything metal-tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
- Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or radio for the latest updates.
- Do not use electrical items such as computers or television sets as power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- A corded telephone should only be used in an emergency, but cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use.
- After a tornado, be sure to remain out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines.
To learn how to prepare for emergencies, create communications plans and more, visit ready.ga.gov.
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