3 Common Natural Disasters in Georgia and How to Prepare For Them

We get it. Thinking about natural disasters in Georgia isn’t exactly fun. But it’s important to be as prepared as possible. 

In our last post, we told you what to include in your emergency preparedness kit. 

Today, we’re informing you about three common weather related events in Georgia and how to prepare for them.

the top of a colorful umbrella during a rainstorm.

Tornadoes

Georgia isn’t a stranger to tornadoes.

In fact, according to Georgia’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, there were more than 1,500 tornadoes reports in Georgia between 1950 and 2014, including a whopping 32 in 2014. 

March, April and May are the most active periods for tornados in the state, but these dangerous storms can occur at any time.

Know The Signs

According to ready.gov, signs of an approaching tornado include:

  • A rotating, funnel-shaped cloud
  • An approaching cloud of debris
  • A loud roar that sounds like a freight train

Understand the Alerts

It’s important to understand the terminology associated with tornado alerts. 

If a tornado watch is issued in your area, that means current weather conditions could produce a tornado nearby. 

You should prepare yourself and other household members for a potential tornado.
However, if a tornado warning is issued,  an actual tornado has been spotted in your area and you should take cover immediately.

How to Prepare for a Tornado

Monitor your local news stations and/ or their official social media channels to stay up to date if a tornado watch is issued.

If traveling by car, seek shelter.

If a warning is issued, follow these ready.gov recommendations:

  • Take shelter immediately in a safe space, such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Avoid windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • If in a vehicle, do not go under an overpass or bridge. Although counter intuitive, you’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Be on the lookout for flying debris
  • Protect your head and neck

If you can’t stay at home, find a public shelter.

Flooding

According to georgiafloodinsurance.com, thunderstorms are the most common type of natural disasters in the state and are the leading cause of flooding. 

In fact, in the last 15 years, 75 percent of Georgia’s counties have received federal disaster declarations thanks to floods.

And did you know that flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S.?

According to ready.gov, floods are the result of rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges and overflows of dams and other waterway systems. 

Floods can develop slowly or quickly, and flash floods often come without warning.

Keep reading to learn how you can prepare.

How to Prepare for Flooding

It’s important you know your risk for flooding. You can visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to learn about your risk. 

Also consider purchasing flood insurance, especially if you’re in a high risk area since most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. 

Lastly, make a plan for you, your family members, and pets that includes what you should do, where you should go, and what you’ll need to protect yourself. 

Ask yourself:

  • If the roads I usually take to leave my home are flooded, what is another route I can take?
  • Where will I go if my home is flooded?
  • What documents and items will I need to quickly grab if a flood is imminent?

Visit ready.gov to learn what else you should do if a flood warning is issued in your area.

Extreme Heat

Georgia knows a thing or two about hot weather, and extreme heat (temperatures over 90 degrees for at least three consecutive days) is a common occurrence in the Peach State.  

But did you know that extreme heat is the leading cause of death among all weather-related hazards according to ready.gov?

In order to prepare for extreme heat, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency has several recommendations, including keeping your home’s cooling system well-maintained and ensuring your home is well insulated. 

The Agency also suggests you learn about the types of medical conditions that can result from extreme heat, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

During a Heat Wave

During a heat wave you should:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • Limit sun exposure
  • Stay hydrated and limit alcohol 
  • Dress in loose fitting, lightweight clothing that covers as much skin as possible

For a complete list of recommendations, click here.

To Sum It Up

Tornados, floods, and extreme heat are three common weather-related events in Georgia, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible for dangerous weather.

TORNADOS

  • The potential for tornadoes is greatest  in March, April and May, but they can occur any time of year. 
  • A Watch is issued when there is a threat of a tornado; a Warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted in your area. 
  • If a tornado warning is issued for your area, seek shelter immediately. 

FLOODING

  • It’s important to know your risk for flooding. 
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance; most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. 
  • Make a plan for you and your family members and pets that includes what you should do, where you should go, and what you’ll need to protect yourself. 

EXTREME HEAT

  • Extreme heat is classified by 3 or more consecutive days of temperatures above 90 degrees.
  • It is the leading cause of death among all weather-related hazards.
  • To prepare for extreme heat, keep your home’s cooling system well-maintained and ensure your home is well insulated. 
  • Understand the medical conditions that can result from extreme heat, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Persons Banking Company cares about you and your safety! 
To learn more about how you can prepare for natural disasters that can occur in Georgia, visit gema.georgia.gov.

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