Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Tornadoes

WSAV NOW Weather

SAVANNAH, GA (WSAV) — It is day three of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Georgia and today Storm Team 3 is focusing on tornado safety. 

Tornadoes are a violently rotating column of air that extend from a severe thunderstorm down to the earth’s surface. They can be greater than a mile wide and can stay on the ground for an extended time. Damage paths at times can be longer than 50 miles.  

Most weather-related fatalities in Georgia are due to tornadoes. Part of the reason for that is tornadoes can develop with little warning and may be difficult to detect. Tornadoes may also become obscured by trees and rain. Development is possible throughout the entire year.  


Your safe place should be at the lowest level in the center of your home. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.

While in the safe shelter, it is important to protect your head from any flying debris and objects. Stay in the safe room on the lowest level of your home until the danger passes. Also, wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from any debris or sharp objects on the ground after the storm has passed.

If you live in a mobile home, find a safer structure to be in until the threat diminishes.  


Mobile homes are not safe to be in during severe weather. These homes are light and aren’t able to withstand dangerous winds They can easily be picked up and tossed around by the storm.

Mobile homes are not sturdy enough to keep you and your family safe. While you can take all the precautions to make sure you secure your home, you need to give yourself the best chance to survive the storm and that is NOT in a mobile home.

So where do you go?? It is difficult trying to find a safe and sturdy place to go with COVID-19 and when social distancing is a must.

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) says citizens should not let COVID-19 prevent them from seeking shelter during a tornado. AMS recommends sheltering with neighbors, friends or family while following CDC guidelines as closely as possible. Wear a face mask, wash your hands and put physical distance between you and other people if possible.

South Carolina Emergency Management says that the imminent danger of a tornado is greater than the threat of contracting or transmitting the coronavirus. Your safety and protection from these violent storms should come first. They also say if a tornado warning is issued and you are in a mobile home, go to a nearby building and seek shelter.

If we know days in advance that severe weather is possible or even likely, contact your local shelter to see if they will be opening. If so, make sure you continue to practice good social distancing.


Much like with severe thunderstorm watches and warnings, it is important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. 

Tornado watches are issued when there are conditions in place that are favorable for tornadoes to develop. If you live in a mobile home, consider finding a safer structure to be in until the threat diminishes.  

Tornado warnings are issued when there is a tornado occurring in an area or is developing. This means to take shelter in a safe place immediately.  

For more information: 


It is critical to receive watches and warnings immediately as they are issued. You may not be near a TV when severe weather is suddenly approaching. Sirens are only meant to be heard outdoors and don’t always sound consistently.

Download the WSAV Weather App to receive local alerts immediately. You can customize it for your location so you’re only receiving alerts for your location. To download the app for free, click here:


When you get the warning notification, it will say the counties included in that warning. You should look carefully to see if your town in that county is included in that warning. If it does, act quickly and get to a safe place.

While your area may not be put into that warning immediately, you should still look to see where the warning is and to keep an eye on the storm. You’ll want to know if the severe weather warned storm is heading your way next because these storms don’t always move in one direction and you can just as easily be put into that warning minutes before the storm hits.

For example…In Hampton County Last April, a warning was issued with the outer edge of the warning extending to the eastern side of Estill and Furman. This severe storm was moving to the east at 55-60 mph…booking it through Hampton County. It wasn’t showing signs of weakening…in fact, it kept getting stronger.

Kyle and I started telling those outside of the warning (towns like Nixville and Speaks Mill) to get to their safe spot because people in those areas needed to act before a new warning was issued.

By keeping track of where the storm and the warning is compared to where you are can help you prepare faster for an approaching storm.

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