When it matters the most: Where you need to be before the storm - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

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When it matters the most: Where you need to be before the storm hits

It's important to be prepared before the storm hits, have a plan and go over it with your family. (Source: WALB) It's important to be prepared before the storm hits, have a plan and go over it with your family. (Source: WALB)
You should know where the safest area of your home is before severe weather hits. (Source: WALB) You should know where the safest area of your home is before severe weather hits. (Source: WALB)
As soon as a warning is issued, get to that safe location immediately and stay there until the threat of the storm is over. (Source: WALB) As soon as a warning is issued, get to that safe location immediately and stay there until the threat of the storm is over. (Source: WALB)
Teresa Sanders, storm survivor (Source: WALB) Teresa Sanders, storm survivor (Source: WALB)
Dougherty County EMA Director Ron Rowe (Source: WALB) Dougherty County EMA Director Ron Rowe (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

In January, South Georgia was pummeled by two major weather events that produced damaging wind and fatal tornadoes.

But the severe weather season hasn't even really started.

Ahead of those months, First Alert Chief Meteorologist Yolanda Amadeo breaks down what you need to do now before the next storm hits.

"And it seems as soon as we got in the hallway it was here and all I could say was, 'Oh my God!' So we stood there till I could hear that train noise and I was like it was vague but oh my God! We are really in it this time," said Teresa Sanders. 

Sanders and her husband took shelter in the hallway on Jan 22 as an EF-3 tornado ripped through their Albany neighborhood.

That hallway was the safest place in their home, away from windows and any flying debris.

MORE COVERAGE OF THE FIRST JANUARY STORM:
+The day after the first round of severe weather
+Information from officials during the clean up process of the January 2nd storms
+SLIDESHOW: Clean up efforts after the storm


Dougherty County EMA Director Ron Rowe said it's critical you know what to do and where to go when severe weather strikes.

"I think people have realized the strength of mother nature, you can't control that. They realize plans are important and doing those steps ahead of time just to prepare just in case because two storms took two different paths. So it's not always the same location in your community where a storm is going to hit, so everyone needs to prepare for that," said Rowe.

COVERAGE OF THE JANUARY 22ND STORM:
+'Pure destruction': Officials give preliminary tornado damage reports in Albany
+15 dead, 88 injured: Communities move forward after devastation hits home
+NWS confirms EF-2 and EF-3 tornadoes in SWGA
+WALB, Red Cross telethon total passes $200K for storm victims

+SLIDESHOW: Photos show the damage of both storms
+Raw video, interviews and news coverage of the January 22nd storms

Stay alert and be prepared. Know that a watch means be prepared to take action. When a warning is issued, it's happening, you have minutes to seek shelter.

Remember, the time spent now on your preparedness plan can be a life saver later. 

Yolanda reflected on the aftermath of covering both of the storms. You can read that here.

Regardless of where you live you need a plan before severe weather strikes. You should talk about the plan and practice it with your family.

When you're in a home:

In your home, go to the center where there's a closet, hall or bathroom. Small rooms that put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

If you have a basement go there.

If you live in a mobile home:

If you live in a mobile home, you should find a safe shelter now. The results of getting caught in one during a major weather event could be devastating. 

If you live in an apartment:

An interior room is key, even in apartments.

But you want to be on the lowest floor.

Get to know your neighbor below you, their place is much safer.

If you're on the road:

Severe weather can happen at any time. If caught in your car, get out, find a safe building nearby or as a last resort, a ditch.

You should never seek shelter under an under pass and never try to outrun a tornado.

If you're outside:

If you are outside when a storm hits, seek shelter immediately. If shelter is unavailable, again, as a last resort, find a ditch.

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to be alerted of life-threatening events. Dougherty County has 14 outdoor warning sirens.

When there's a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning, the sirens are sounded with an audible message warning you to go inside and get more information.

"Remember sirens are only one part of a warning system that includes preparation, NOAA Weather Radio and local media. You should use all information available to protect yourself and your family. When life-threatening weather is approaching, minutes or even seconds could make a difference," said Rowe.

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