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Day 2 Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Thunderstorm Safety

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Chatham County residents are no strangers to thunderstorms. They are a regular occurrence for this area during the spring and summer months. Thunderstorms are formed by unstable air currents, rising warm air and sinking cold air, which can be found on hot spring and summer days. Chatham County's humid environment during the summer months and extreme wind activity from the coastline, both ingredients are available for a severe thunderstorm to occur. With that in mind, do you know what classifies a thunderstorm as severe or not?  Do you know what events a severe thunderstorm can cause? Do you know the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and warning? 

Thunderstorms are classified as a weather event that can cause wind, rain, and small hail in a given area. A severe thunderstorm is identified as an event that can produce hail 1" or larger, generate winds 58 mph or greater, and can even generate tornadoes. Most severe thunderstorms occur in the late evening and afternoon hours and can last for approximately 30 minutes. However, this should not be taken as a rule of thumb because severe thunderstorms may still occur at any time and, depending on its strength, could last for a longer period of time.

Before the spring and summer seasons begin, take the time to understand the difference between a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that conditions are favorable for a thunderstorm and that residents should be prepared to move indoors. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that a thunderstorm is imminent or occurring and that residents should take shelter immediately. When developing plans for this upcoming storm season, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect your family and property from harm.

During a severe thunderstorm, damaging winds are one of the leading causes of harm to Georgia residents. We've clearly seen how strong winds can cause extensive damage to Chatham County. Take preemptive action now and remove any tree limbs, especially those that are dead or rotten, that could cause potential harm to your life and property during a severe thunderstorm.

Be aware of the alert systems in place that warn of severe thunderstorms and other weather events. This could be downloading an app on your cellular or portable device that sends out alerts or purchasing a NOAA weather radio and keeping it in a central location in your home. If you're caught outside when a severe thunderstorm occurs, take action immediately and seek shelter inside your home or nearby building. Keeping as many walls between you and storm is the best possible option.

Last Updated: February 6, 2018 9:13 AM

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