Columbus, Georgia Office of Homeland Security website

Thunderstorms and Lightning

GA averages over 2 deaths per year due to lightning
GA averages over 2 deaths per year due to lightning.

All thunderstorms produce lightning and all have the potential for danger. Those dangers can include tornadoes, strong winds, hail, wildfires and flash flooding, which is responsible for more fatalities than any other thunderstorm-related hazard. The biggest threat in Georgia from severe thunderstorms is damaging straight-line winds and large hail. Straight-line winds can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph and produce damage similar to a tornado.

Lightning's risk to individuals and property is increased because of its unpredictability, which emphasizes the importance of preparedness. It often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. The Lightning 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.

Thunderstorm Warnings and Watches

It is important to be aware of the severe weather advisories that are issued by the National Weather Service.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Severe thunderstorms are occurring.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH: Severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.

How Can I Be Prepared for Thunderstorms & Lightning?

  1. Visit and print out an Emergency Supply Kit checklist. This checklist will provide you with a selection of survival items to have on hand during emergency situations, including non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
  2. Make a Family Emergency Plan.
  3. Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class from your local Citizen Corps chapter. Keep your training current.

Thunderstorms and Lightning Links

FEMA: Thunderstorms & Lightning Thunderstorms & Lightning
NOAA: Severe Weather
American Red Cross: Thunderstorms

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Department of the Columbus, Georgia Consolidated Government