By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Focus on severe weather this week
Authorities urge preparedness
storms 4 jd
Severe weather can often bring trees down on roads. - photo by File photo
On the Net

For more on how to prepare for severe weather, go online at
As part of Georgia Severe Weather Awareness Week, local and state emergency management officials are encouraging residents to make sure they’re prepared for natural disasters.

According to a statement from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, this week is the time to practice and prepare for all types of severe weather.

Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security, said the state is susceptible to “nearly every type of natural disaster.”

“Though severe weather comes in different forms, by being prepared for one, you are prepared for them all,” he said.

Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman said the county’s severe weather sirens were successfully tested Wednesday morning as part of a state drill. They are usually tested at noon on the first Wednesday of each month.

During a tornado warning, an alarm siren sounds, which is different from the Westminster chimes tone used for testing.

The sirens are designed to warn those who are outside that a tornado is imminent in the area.

Bowman, who is also director of the county’s emergency management agency, said the public shouldn’t rely solely on the devices.

“In Forsyth County it is imperative that everyone monitor quickly changing weather conditions and you can do that with a very inexpensive weather radio and your local television stations,” he said.

Bowman noted that many weather-related Web sites will send a message to cell phones in the event of storms or other bad conditions.

Other than tests, the county’s sirens sound only in the event of a tornado warning, which means a twister is in the area and people should seek shelter.

They will not alert in the event of a thunderstorm, nor are they tested during bad weather.

Bowman explained that a tornado watch means conditions are “ripe to deteriorate quickly.”

He said the worst weather in Georgia usually occurs between February and April, particularly late March and early April.

Last year, storms ripped through Forsyth County on April 10, Good Friday. The county was under three separate tornado warnings that day, though none were reported.

The following Monday, 50-mph wind gusts hit the county and about 3,000 local Georgia power customers reported outages.

In addition to preparing for thunderstorms and tornadoes, the public is encouraged to brush up on flood preparation this week, check disaster kits and ensure supplies are updated.