ATLANTA-There is a forecast of more severe weather today. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency is encouraging everyone to not only watch the sky, but also take some simple steps to get ready – such as compiling a kit of emergency supplies including water, non-perishable foods and prescription needs.

Here are more tips, courtesy of GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign – the state’s resource on disaster preparedness.

Remember these terms:

 A thunderstorm watch means there is a possibility of a thunderstorm in your area.

A thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm is occurring or will likely occur soon. 

A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.

A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area, and you need to take shelter immediately.

Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm. Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a warning. Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection. If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.

A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible. If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Make a Tornado and Thunderstorm Plan. If a thunderstorm is likely in your area, postpone outdoor activities. Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage. Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains. Avoid showering or bathing during a thunderstorm. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity. Watch for darkening skies, lightning, increasing winds. Go quickly inside a home, building, or hard top automobile, if possible. If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible but do not lie flat on the ground. If on open water, get to land and shelter immediately.

Things to avoid include: Tall, isolated tree in an open area. Hilltops, open fields, the beach, a boat on the water, isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas. Anything metal-tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles. Stay Informed Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. 

You should listen to a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio or radio for the latest updates. Do not use electrical items such as computers or television sets as power surges from lightning can cause serious damage. A corded telephone should only be used in an emergency, but cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use. After a tornado, be sure to remain out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines.

To learn how to prepare for emergencies, create communications plans and more, visit For preparedness on the go, download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app.

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