SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK BEGINS FEBRUARY 3RDFrom tornadoes to lightning to floods, Douglas County is susceptible to a variety of natural disasters. Severe weather is dangerous and can strike with very little warning, which is why it is important that Douglas County residents get ready in advance. The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency is taking this opportunity to provide information and tips for weather survival.
Severe Weather Awareness Week runs from February 3rd - 7th and the designation is to remind residents to prepare. Details for each day will be posted on the Douglas County web site at www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com and on the Douglas County Happenings Facebook page.
Monday, February 3rd is “Family Preparedness Day” and families are encouraged to develop a family disaster plan. The plan should outline what each member of the family should do during the first 72 hours of a weather disaster, such as a winter storm, flood or tornado. With a family disaster plan, the chances of surviving significantly increase. To help families get started, Ready Georgia offers the tools needed to make an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Ready Georgia is accessible at www.ready.ga.gov.
Tuesday, February 4th highlights “Thunderstorm Safety.” The biggest threat from severe thunderstorms is damaging straight-line winds and large hail. To prepare for thunderstorms, residents should remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a thunderstorm. Outdoor objects that could blow away should be secured. The 30/30 rule should be remembered - go indoors if you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder after you see lightning, and stay indoors 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is designated by the National Weather Service when conditions are likely for a thunderstorm to develop. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is designated when a thunderstorm has already developed, and citizens should take cover immediately. Weather sirens are sounded for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings.
Wednesday, February 5th reminds residents of “Tornado Preparedness.” The best thing to do to protect yourself and your family is to have a plan of action in place before a tornado develops including choosing a place where family members can gather on the lowest floor of your house and in a room with no windows, such as a center hallway, bathroom or large closet. A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of a tornado and associated severe thunderstorms, lightning and hail. If a Tornado Watch is issued by the National Weather Service, you should be on heightened alert and ready to take shelter. If a Tornado Warning is issued, a tornado is approaching the area and you need to take shelter immediately. Weather sirens are sounded for Tornado Warnings.
Weather sirens in Douglas County and Douglasville are audibly tested at 12 noon on the first Wednesday of each month, weather permitting.
“Lightning” is the topic for Thursday, February 6th. Lightning is a deadly by-product of thunderstorms and kills hundreds of people Nationwide each year. Lightning is naturally occurring electricity, and will act just like electricity in your home except that it is not grounded and can be very dangerous. When lightning is in the area, residents should take immediate cover in a building or a vehicle, avoid anything metal, and stay away from water.
The week’s emphasis ends on Friday with “Floods and Flash Floods.” The September 2009 floods are still very fresh in our memory. We lost seven citizens in the flooding and there were millions of dollars of property damage. Flash Floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Because the rainfall amount in the intense storm is greater than what the soil and drainage system can handle, the water quickly pools and can become dangerous. A Flash Flood Watch means flash flooding is possible due to incoming storms. A Flash Flood Warning means that a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.
Floods can take several hours to develop and are usually the result of long periods of rainfall. Floods do not always stay within the 100-year floodplain so owners of property close to creeks, streams and drainage easements need to be particularly aware of rising waters. A Flood Watch means that flooding is possible over the designated time period, and a Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent.
All homeowners should know that their homeowners/property insurance does NOT cover them from flooding. Homeowners insurance covers “falling” water (rain) but does NOT cover “rising” water (flooding). However, all property owners in Douglas County can purchase flood insurance from their insurance agent that is backed by the Federal government.
One of the most valuable tools a resident can have is a NOAA Weather Radio which broadcasts continuous weather information from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City including watches and warnings.The Douglas County Emergency Management Agency is a department of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, and serves both Douglas County and the City of Douglasville.