Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Severe Weather Awareness Week... Day 4

I guess it is fitting that on tornado day of Severe Weather Awareness Week we are dealing with the threat of tornadoes across the southeastern U.S. So far more than 40 people have been killed as a result of the storms. That is why it is so important to know what to do so you and your family can stay safe.

Because of the threat of storms today the tornado drill has been rescheduled for Friday. Stay tuned to CBS46 for the very latest on the threat of severe weather this morning across the metro area.

Wednesday’s Post: “Tornadoes”
(Information courtesy of the National Weather Service)

Tornadoes are one of the most fascinating, but deadly, weather phenomena on Earth. Georgia’s peak season for tornadoes stretches from March to May, but tornadoes can actually occur anytime of the year (even in winter!). However, it is often difficult to see Georgia’s tornadoes because they are shielded by rain, trees, or hills.

Tornadoes can come in many shapes and sizes (from fat wedges to tall, skinny ropes), but all tornadoes consist of a column of violently rotating air that extends from the thunderstorm to the ground. Weaker tornadoes last a few minutes, but some stronger tornadoes can last over 20 minutes and produce winds near 300 mph! Tornadoes can develop very quickly, so it is very important to be alert.

A “Tornado Watch” means weather conditions are favorable for developing thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. When your area is under a watch, it is time to get prepared in case the weather gets worse. If a member of the public reports a tornado, or if the National Weather Service detects a tornado on its radar, then a “Tornado Warning” will be issued. A “Tornado Warning” means a tornado has been spotted in your area and is an imminent threat. If you haven’t done so before, it’s time to get to safety NOW. Remain in your storm safety area until the warning has expired.

You can find out if watches and warnings are issued for your area by listening to your NOAA Weather Radio or your tv, or by logging on to If a tornado watch is issued for your area, take action to get to safety now, especially if you live in a mobile home. Mobile homes are particularly dangerous during a tornado, and if you live in a mobile home community, you should establish a storm shelter in a nearby sturdy building in case severe weather threatens your area.

If you are in a structurally strong building when a tornado threatens, move to the most interior room of the lowest floor (such as a closet in the basement). Try and put as many walls between you and the outside as you can. Avoid windows; trees and other debris can break the glass and injure you. If you are in your vehicle, do not try to outrun the tornado; either get inside a sturdy building or lie flat in a nearby ditch (but be sure to watch for flooding).

For more information about tornadoes, visit the National Weather Service’s website and the Tornado Project’s website.

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