Stay Safe During a Storm

About 100,000 thunderstorms occur yearly in the United States. Only 10% are severe, but all can produce lightning, strong winds, hail, tornadoes and heavy rain. Thunderstorms happen year-round, but most commonly on spring/summer afternoons and evenings. 

Prepare for Winter Weather

Prepare for a Thunderstorm

Severe Thunderstorm Watches tell when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. 

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings go out when storms are reported by spotters or appear on radar. 

How to prepare:

  • Stay aware. Watch for approaching storms. Check the weather forecast before heading outdoors. Postpone outdoor activities when thunderstorms are forecast. Tune in to a weather radio for 24/7 updates from the National Weather Service.
  • Know what to do. Take safe shelter immediately inside a sturdy building, away from windows, doors and electrical appliances. Avoid contact with conductors of electricity, appliances, metal objects and water. Get out of boats and away from water. Find a low spot (but one that will not flood) away from trees, fences and poles. If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. If lightning strikes close by, make yourself the smallest possible target and minimize your contact with the ground. (Squat low on the balls of your feet. Put your hands on your knees. Place your head between your knees.)
  • Other tips? Don't shower or bathe. Turn off air conditioners, since power surges can overload them. Avoid landline telephones and unplug all unnecessary electrical appliances, as telephone lines and metal pipes conduct electricity.

Prepare for a Tornado

The critical first step in surviving a tornado? Listen for tornado watches and warnings. 

A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado. 

A tornado warning means there is immediate danger of a tornado. 

Local radio and television stations and outdoor warning sirens alert us to tornadoes, but the best way to hear tornado warnings in your home is with a weather radio. This device picks up around-the-clock broadcasts from the National Weather Service and sounds a loud alarm with a tornado warning.

Practice being prepared. Identify a safe place in your home and make sure all family members, especially children, know to go there for a tornado warning. Hold tornado drills so everyone remembers what to do. 

Follow these steps to survive a tornado:

  • If you live in a house: The safest place in your home is the lowest level – the basement. If you don't have one, choose a small room away from windows, like a closet, hallway or bathroom. Stay near the center of the house. Put as many walls as possible between you and a tornado. Close all doors. If your safest room is a first-floor bathroom, get in the tub and hold a mattress or cushions over your head for protection.
  • If you live in a mobile home: If you hear a tornado warning, leave your home immediately and go to a nearby shelter or the basement of a building. If you don't have time to reach a shelter, lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low area and cover your head. Never try to flee a tornado in a vehicle.
  • If you get caught outdoors: Hurry to the basement of a sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low area. Cover your head. Do not stay in a vehicle during a tornado.

Prepare for a Hurricane

A Family Hurricane Plan can help you and your loved ones be as ready as possible for an approaching hurricane. Make sure everyone in the family understands the Family Hurricane Plan. One weekend in May each year, review the plan.

Be sure that your hurricane plan includes:

  • A deadline to evacuate. (No matter what's in your plan, obey all evacuation orders from local officials.)
  • A destination after you evacuate. (Map alternate routes in case roads are blocked.)
  • What to do with family pets.
  • Storage for boats or recreational vehicles.
  • Relatives to notify.
  • Safe places to keep important family papers and keepsakes.
  • Meeting places after the hurricane, if people get separated.
  • Locations of emergency shelters. (Vital if you decide to leave at the last minute.)
  • Duty of each family member before the storm. (Does Dad put plywood over the windows while Mom takes the dog to the kennel?)
  • Phone number of a friend or neighbor if you need last-minute help as a storm approaches.
  • Contact information and a stand-by plan for elderly family members or friends who live alone.

Prepare for a Flood

Flash flooding is the number-one weather-related killer in the United States. Flooding can occur after just minutes of heavy rainfall. Floods may happen anywhere and at any time.

A flood/flash flood watch means rains could cause flash flooding. Be prepared for floods.

A flood/flash flood warning means flash flooding is happening or is about to happen. Move to safe ground immediately.

Follow these steps to survive a flash flood:

  • Be alert. If rains last several hours or days, there's a chance of flooding. Listen to local radio or TV stations and NOAA weather radio for watch/warning bulletins. Know your area's flood risk.
  • Watch for rising water levels. Quickly go to high ground if you see or hear rapidly rising water.
  • Never attempt to walk or drive through flowing water. Water may appear shallow, but flooding can wash out deep holes or sweep people away. Most flood deaths occur in automobiles, often when drivers attempt to cross flooded places. If your vehicle stalls, abandon it and go to higher ground immediately.
  • Be especially cautious at night. Darkness can hide flood dangers.

Prepare for an Ice Storm

Even in Georgia, we get ice storms caused by prolonged periods of freezing rain. Trees, power lines, roads and walkways get covered with ice. Power lines come down.

If you lose electric service, the following safety tips can help you stay safe:

  • Non-electric, unvented space heaters can be a hazard. Use them only in well-ventilated areas.
  • Cook with a camp stove, fireplace or can of Sterno (cooking fuel). Never use charcoal or other fuels in unventilated areas.
  • If you use an electric generator, plug appliances directly into it. Never plug a generator directly into your home's electrical wiring.
  • Disconnect or turn off appliances you were using when the power went off. Leave one light on to tell you when service has been restored.
  • Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the door is closed. In a half-full freezer, food will keep 24 hours.

Prepare for a Possible Power Outage

In case of a possible power outage, make sure you:

  • Stock up on non-perishable foods, heating fuel and medications.
  • Fill your bathtub and spare containers with water in case your electric water pump or the local water system goes out.
  • Have a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and fresh batteries handy.
  • Prepare older family members, friends or neighbors who live alone for the weather.

Safety Matters Most

This means your safety and the safety of repair crews. We do not ask crews to make repairs in dangerous weather conditions or in flooded or badly damaged areas. Please rest assured that our highly trained crews will begin restoring power as soon as it's safe to work. 

Safety Reminders:

  • Never touch any downed wires or low-hanging wires - it can kill. Telephone or cable TV wires that touch a power line can be deadly. Report the location of any downed or low-hanging lines to Georgia Power. You can also contact local authorities or 911.
  • Never try to make your own electrical repairs to Georgia Power equipment. Let our crews do dangerous work.
  • Never pull tree limbs off power lines yourself.
  • Never go into areas with debris or downed trees. Dangerous power lines may be buried in wreckage.
  • Never go near chain link fences. Dangerous lines may touch the metal.
  • Never step in puddles. They may be electrified.
  • Never connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. Connect only essential appliances - freezers and refrigerators - directly to a generator. Click here for more on using a generator safely.
  • Never walk into areas where crews are at work. If you're driving near work crews, obey road signs and proceed cautiously.