Winter is refusing to go out quietly, as severe weather is predicted for metro Atlanta later on Monday. Gusty winds, large hail and even tornadoes are possible one day before Spring officially arrives.
A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted in your area and you should take cover immediately, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Association, which is a good source of information and safety tips.
But what about hail, which also can arrive quickly and endanger your property and personal safety? Here’s what the American Red Cross, AAA Auto Club South and several auto insurance companies recommend doing to protect yourself and others during a hail storm:
If you’re at home, the office or some other secure building, immediately account for everyone else who’s present, including pets.
Move as far away from windows as possible.
If you have sufficient time before the hail starts, pull all vehicles, boats and ATV’s inside the garage.
Do not use phones or electrical appliances.
Stay inside; do not go outside for any reason until there’s official notification the storm has passed.
If you’re caught outside when the hail starts to fall, seek immediate shelter. If none is available, protect your body from the impact of falling hail and other objects. If you can’t shield your whole body, do everything possible to protect your head.
Avoid culverts, ditches and other low lying areas that can fill with water during a storm.
Taking shelter under a tree should be “a last resort,” according to the American Red Cross. adding that, “It is common during severe storms for trees to lose branches. Also, large isolated trees attract lightning.”
ON THE ROAD:
Stop driving. Pull off the highway or road and if you see a safe place nearby, such as an underpass or inside a garage, drive to it. Avoid parking in ditches or other low lying areas that can fill with water.
Stay inside your vehicle. Do not leave it for any reason until the storm has safely passed.
To avoid flying glass, keep yourself and all passengers as far away as possible from the windshield and windows.
Cover your eyes and lie face down on the vehicle floor or seat, with your back to the windows.
Put small children under you and cover their eyes as well.
Cover your body with a blanket, coats or other clothing to avoid flying debris.