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Hurricane Season is Upon Us - Tips to Help Prepare

Storms have the potential to bring high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across the state.

Peachtree Corners and Berkeley Lake residents are encouraged to be aware and prepare for hurricane season, which starts June 1. National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs May 22 through May 28. The Atlantic Basin is expected to see an above-normal hurricane season this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.  

Although hurricanes do not regularly make landfall in Georgia, the state’s location along the Atlantic Ocean and its proximity to the Gulf Coast means communities across the state are at risk, according to an announcement by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security. Storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across the state.

GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign supports Hurricane Preparedness Week and advises residents to get prepared, especially following the recent spate of deadly flood and tornado activity in the United States. 

“Being prepared before a hurricane hits is the only way to ensure that you will be ready,” said Dan Stowers, planning director for GEMA, in the announcement. “By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Take the time during Hurricane Preparedness Week to learn basic safety rules and preparation tips for these storms.“

Seventy-two percent of Georgians do not know designated evacuation routes from their community, while 87 percent are not fully prepared with a kit of emergency supplies or a communications plan in place, according to recent research conducted by Ready Georgia. Another 74 percent do not have a NOAA Weather Radio to warn of advancing threats.

The Ready Georgia website www.ready.ga.gov allows users to create a personalized readiness checklist and communications plan, making it simple to take those first steps toward being prepared. There is also detailed information about hurricane-related hazards, as well as tips on how to protect the home and find local evacuation routes.

In addition, the Hurricane Preparedness Week website is packed with educational information about the potentially violent storm system. The week begins with an observation of the history of hurricanes on May 22, followed by a focus on these storm’s most dangerous threats and how to prepare.

  • Monday, May 23: Storm Surge—Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of winds swirling around a hurricane. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard, so extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand such forces.
  • Tuesday, May 24: High Winds--Hurricanes can produce high winds that add to a storm's destructive power. Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. The strongest winds usually occur in the right side of the eyewall of the hurricane. Wind speed usually decreases significantly within 12 hours after landfall, however, winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland.
  • Wednesday, May 25: Inland Flooding--Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from Georgia’s coast. More people have died from inland flooding than storm surge, as some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
  • Thursday, May 26: Team Effort--Staying informed about hurricane forecasts is critical to being prepared for these threats.  In forecasting, a hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in an area, and a hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected to hit.
  • Friday, May 27: Get a Plan!--To be fully prepared for hurricane season, every household in Georgia should have a Ready kit of emergency supplies for both the home and the car in case of evacuation.  A customized Ready kit checklist can be created at www.ready.ga.gov, where a list of basic supplies is also available.
  • Saturday, May 28: Safety Tips--Take action to prepare for hurricanes and their hazards by developing a family disaster plan and evacuation route.  By practicing evacuation plans, a household can be ready to leave if instructed by authorities.

Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign.

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