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Spring is peak time for tornado activity, so start preparing

3/7/2014, 6 a.m.
The National Weather Service says tornadoes are the No. 1 severe weather-related killer in Georgia. They have occurred in every month of the year in the state.

With crippling snow and ice storms still a vivid memory, residents are being encouraged to start preparing for the tornado season, which peaks between March and May.

Many Georgians are still not prepared to survive for the recommended 72 hours following a large-scale emergency, research shows. In addition, many have not purchased weather radios or created a family reconnection plan – and that type of complacency can be dangerous when every minute counts, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security says.

The National Weather Service says tornadoes are the No. 1 severe weather-related killer in Georgia. The wind-packed funnel clouds have proved to be some of nature’s most violent storms, appearing sometimes with little warning and remaining invisible until dust and debris pick up. They also can generate wind speeds that can exceed 250 mph, underscoring the need to plan and rehearse how and where to take shelter.

Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security, said that while tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year in Georgia, March, April and May are often the most active months.

“Regardless of when they strike, tornadoes are dangerously unpredictable, so it’s critical to know in advance what to do and where to take shelter immediately,” he said in a March 4 statement. “The Ready Georgia campaign provides access to the essential tools and resources families need to be ready for potential emergencies like tornadoes.”

Visitors to the Ready Georgia Web site, www.ready.ga.gov, can find information needed to create a disaster supply kit, develop a tailored communications plan and stay informed about potential threats.

In addition, families can access children’s games and activities, while households with pets or elderly or disabled family members will find specific information on preparing for severe weather.

For preparedness on the go, download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app, which turns your iPhone or Android smartphone into an invaluable preparedness tool by providing mobile access to emergency contact information, a list of Ready kit supplies and even local shelter locations in the wake of a disaster.

Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies.

For more information or to download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app, visit www.ready.ga.gov. Also visit www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc.