Georgia’s severe weather season (and baseball) begin


By Kevin Hagler & Ruben Brown

Photo Credit: mlbblogs.com

My intent was to post something original today as the severe weather season (March, April, & May) appears to have reared its ugly head. But Ruben’s post in 2010 literally hits it outta the park.

Last night’s tornado watch most assuredly won’t be the last, so here’s a reissue of how baseball and severe weather are related. Enjoy:

What do baseball and severe weather have in common? Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but the commonality is not that they both occur in spring. But bear with me and I’ll clarify.

I happen to coach my son’s baseball team and part of my job is to chide the players and to keep them focused during games. What I’ve noticed over the years is that when our team is ahead, our fielders seem to get complacent, especially the guys in the outfield. They figure, after all, that they’ve got a comfortable lead and that the opponent would find it difficult, if not impossible, to catch up. And so, the guys begin to relax. They look off into the stands, look up into the air and look at each other. And then it happens…

The bottom of the opposing team’s line-up begins to bat and the smallest, most unlikely player on the team whacks a line drive into a gap in the outfield. This timely hit then starts a rally by the opposing team and our guys, who were so confidently ahead,  end up losing the game by the slimmest of margins

Severe weather can be a lot like the aforementioned baseball game. Up to this point we’ve had a quiet spring– no real severe weather threats to speak of. And just like those outfielders, we might be tempted to let our guard down—  to follow our normal weekend routines and to shelve our severe weather plans.

This weekend, many experts predict that severe weather could indeed impact  parts of the southeast. The state of Georgia is in a slight risk area for strong winds, hail and, yes, isolated tornadoes. Now is the time for you and your loved ones to review your severe weather plan to make sure that you are prepared for severe weather threats.

Although tornadoes can occur during any time of the year in Georgia, the months of March – May are most active, with a major peak in mid- April and another weaker peak around November.

On a similar note, while I’m not in the business of “crying wolf”, it does occur to me that there is a possibility of 4 straight days of rain. With torrential rains comes the greater the likelihood of floods.

The Atlanta Red Cross urges everyone to review their severe weather plans to make sure that they are prepared for severe weather threats like tornadoes, torrential rains, and floods:

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan

  • Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

Be prepared for a Flood

  • Learn if your neighborhood is affected by floods by going to the National Flood Insurance Program website.
  • If you live in a frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency building materials.
  • Have check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
  • Plan and practice an evacuation route.
  • Make sure all family members know how to turn off gas, electricity, and water; and also know the emergency radio station to listen for information.
  • A flood “watch” means a flood is possible in your area.
  • A flood “warning” means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

DURING A FLOOD WATCH

  • Watch or listen to your local media for the latest emergency information.
  • Store some water in jugs and the bath tub.
  • Move valuables to higher ground.
  • Be prepared to evacuate.

DURING A FLOOD

  • Get to higher ground.
  • Get away from standing, flowing, or rising water.
  • If you are driving and your car stalls, abandon your vehicle and head to higher ground.
  • Watch or listen to your local media for the latest emergency information.

Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings

  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
  • Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
    • A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
    • A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
  • Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by county or parish

You can find more tips on preparing your family for severe weather by visiting the Preparedness section of RedCross.org

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