ATLANTA — In Georgia, most of our storms come in the spring and summer months. But outside these seasons, we can have storms year-round. Even non-severe storms can be dangerous, containing lightning, gusty winds, and small hail.
A severe thunderstorm is a storm with any or all of the following conditions: wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or greater or 1 inch diameter hail or greater.
Severe thunderstorms can cause just as much damage as some tornadoes, and this damage can cover a larger area than tornadoes.
Remember, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that the atmospheric conditions are present and severe storms can develop. You should be prepared for the potential for severe storms, but it doesn't mean it's necessarily ongoing at the time.
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that a severe storm is likely or imminent. That's when you need to take shelter inside and away from windows.
Here are some tips on how to be prepared before a thunderstorm hits from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency:
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a thunderstorm hazard, including understanding the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and a severe thunderstorm warning.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a thunderstorm.
- Know your lightning safety rules. For example, if you hear thunder or see lightning, go indoors. Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- If thunderstorms are expected 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.
GEMA also has tips on what to do during a thunderstorm or after. You can find them on their website.