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Duck, cover and prepare for storm season
Severe Weather Awareness Week acts as reminder to have emergency plans
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Sardis Enrichment School student Yasmin Paramo, left, and David Espinoza, crouch in the hallway of the school Wednesday morning with classmates during the annual Severe Weather Awareness tornado drill.

2011 statistics

• 1,000 weather-related deaths nationwide
• 8,000 weather-related injuries nationwide

Sign up for text and email alerts at gainesvilletimes.com/alerts to receive watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

Sign up for the Hall County Citizens Alert System to receive emergency and nonemergency information here 

Crouching in a hall with your hands on your head may not sound like much fun, but practice makes perfect when it comes to being prepared for severe weather.

Students across Hall County on Wednesday did just that so if there ever is a tornado warning, they’ll know what to do. The drill is a part of the annual Severe Weather Awareness Week observed every February across the county.

But being prepared isn’t just for school children. Hall County emergency authorities have a number of tips to keep yourself and your family safe.

• Keep up with weather forecasts to understand threats in your area. You can purchase a weather radio that will notify you of alerts and/or sign up for text and email alerts from emergency management officials and media sources.

• Build an Emergency Supply Kit, including nonperishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries, goggles and disposable breathing masks.

• Make a Family Emergency Plan so if your family is not together when disaster strikes, you know how to contact one another and how you will get back together.

Tornado tips

•Signs of tornado weather include a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, a large, dark, low-lying cloud and a loud roar, similar to a freight train.

•Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.

• The average tornado moves southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.

• Peak tornado season in the South is March through May.

Social media effect

A growing trend in severe weather awareness is the use of social media to let family and friends know you are safe. Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said the tool can be a great one to let others know what steps you’ve taken to prepare in an emergency, which could lead others to take those steps, too.

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