GA Severe Weather Preparedness: Tornado safety

GA Severe Weather Preparedness: Tornado safety
Tornado damage (KSLA)

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Tornadoes can happen any time of the year here but they tend to be most common from March through May, with a peak typically in April. Most tornadoes are relatively weak, affecting a small area for only a few minutes with winds less than 100 miles per hour.

But tornadoes can be strong and violent, spanning many miles and lasting over an hour at times, with winds between 100 and 300 miles per hour.

Meteorologists classify tornadoes on what is known as the Enhanced Fujita scale. This scale goes from EF0 to EF5, with EF0 being the weakest and EF5 being the strongest.

On average, Georgia sees 6 days a year with tornadoes. Quickly getting the warning that a tornado is threatening could end up saving your life.

"Keep your weather radio on," suggested Andy Leanza, Columbia County Emergency Management Agency director. "Monitor it. As soon as you see any kind of alert or hear about anything, monitor the credible news sources."

On average, you have about 13 minutes to get to safety after you hear the warning. Your best bet is to get inside a building and go to the lowest level. You'll want to go to an interior room, away from doors and windows. The idea is to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

It's also important that you have an emergency family plan in place.

"If we lose cell phone coverage, your family kind of needs to have that plan so you can meet up with each other," said Leanza.

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