Statewide tornado drill 9 a.m.

Get ready to take cover during a statewide tornado drill Wednesday morning.

All schools, businesses, government offices and homes are asked to prepare for the upcoming tornado season. A statewide tornado alert will sound at 9 a.m.

Pam Tucker, Columbia County’s director of emergency and operations, said residents should stop whatever they are doing, wherever they are and seek shelter.

People should move toward the lowest floor of a building or an interior hallway. Face the wall, crouch and place your hands over your neck and head, Tucker said.

“Once everyone feels comfortable that everybody fits into the space and it works, then they can clear out on their own,” she said.

The peak season for severe thunderstorms and tornados in the Southeast is March through May, Tucker said.

She said everyone should purchase a NOAA weather alert radio, which can cost about $30.

Many of the newest smartphones have built-in alert systems, Tucker said. Social media is another way alerts are issued.

Georgia tornado 900 yards wide, blew 160 mph
Powerful storms rake Georgia, Southeast; 2 dead
Storm leaves Augusta area largely unscathed
SEVERE WEATHER TIPS

• Assemble a 72-hour emergency kit with water, nonperishable food, flashlights, a battery operated radio or TV, first aid supplies, a cellphone and a wrench.

• If severe weather is imminent, move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows.

• Get out of automobiles and lie flat in a nearby ditch or ravine. Cover your head with your hands.

• Leave a mobile home and find the nearest sturdy building or lie flat in a nearby ditch or ravine.

• Protect yourself from lightning by moving inside. Do not stand under a tree or in an open place. Avoid water.

Source: Pam Tucker, Columbia County Director of Emergency and Operations

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