Tornadoes by the numbers in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tornadoes by the numbers in South Georgia

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(Source:  NOAA) (Source: NOAA)
WALB Meteorologist Chris Zelman WALB Meteorologist Chris Zelman
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

They are beasts of nature and can strike anywhere at any time.

"Tornadoes don't care where they go. They have more propensity to form over flatlands. You usually see them in the Great Plains, Southern Plains. They don't discriminate,"

WALB Meteorologist Chris Zelman has tracked his share of tornadoes in Southwest Georgia, but while they can touchdown virtually anywhere, some counties get them more than others.

"I had always heard there was about a 30% higher increase in tornado possibility from Decatur County through Worth County," said Zelman

This map, issued by NOAA, shows the number of reported tornadoes by county since 1950. Between then and 2012 Decatur, Mitchell, Colquitt and Worth counties have had a combined 110 tornadoes. Based on these statistics, this area is one of the most tornado prone areas in the state of Georgia.

"That's where the tornado warnings seem to be most often. The big Valentine's Day outbreak was in that area across Mitchell County and in through Worth County," explained Chris.

That outbreak on February 14, 2000 left 13 people dead and destroyed 250 homes in Mitchell County. Worth and Colquitt counties are tied for the highest number of tornadoes reported in the entire state. While there may be no scientific reason as to why these get more tornadoes, geography might explain it all.

"There is a slow drop-off in elevation as you from Northwest to Southeast as you come across the entire state of Georgia. When a tornado or anything that circulates is coming from a higher elevation to a lower elevation, it gets elongated and will spin fast so we get some quick spin up tornadoes," said WALB Meteorologist Chris Zelman.

But regardless of where you live it's important to have a safety plan in mind. The proof is in the numbers.

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