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Tornado drill in Forsyth part of severe weather awareness week

FORSYTH COUNTY — In the middle of another dreary winter, it’s not difficult to fantasize about warmer weather. It’s also easy to forget that spring brings with it some of the most dangerous weather of the year.

To help residents prepare this week, Forsyth County is observing severe weather awareness week. As part of the events, it will participate in a statewide tornado drill at 9:10 this morning in which all 17 outdoor severe weather sirens will sound.

“[This is] mainly to familiarize people with what the tornado sirens sound like and remind [them] that the tornado sirens are mainly to be heard outside. They are not to be heard in your house,” said Chris Grimes, deputy director of the county’s emergency management agency.

“I believe most of the school will be participating and going to their tornado safe areas.”

Severe Weather Awareness Week is part of state initiative to remind residents of the dangers of lightning, flooding, thunderstorms and other conditions.

“We try to do it every year before weather strikes, our most common months being March, April, early spring for when we start seeing severe weather in our area,” Grimes said.

“Forsyth County is no stranger to severe weather. We’ve had a number of tornados that have touched down over the years, and it’s not just tornados, it’s floods and lightning too.”

In addition to the severe weather drills, the agency is encouraging residents to form emergency plans and prepare disaster supply kits.

The kits should contain water, food, radios, can openers, flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies, wrenches, local maps and pliers to turn off utilities.

The county is also asking residents to sign up for county weather alerts on its website and to download the “Ready Georgia” smartphone application. The alerts will call, email or text residents.

To round out the week, the agency will emphasize lightning safety Thursday and flood safety Friday.