Wednesday morning storm damage in Rome. (Courtesy Paul Kakos)
ATLANTA -- As crews clean up the aftermath of Wednesday night's storms, others are already looking ahead to the next severe weather system.
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The Georgia Emergency Management Acency issued these tips:
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.
* 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
Stay Informed about Severe Storms
* Listen to battery-operated 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.
You should also charge your cell phone and laptop before the storm, so you can stay in touch with loved ones and the latest storm developments if you lose power.