Severe weather can strike any time of year, yet spring tends to bring the highest chances of tornadoes, floods, large hail and damaging winds. Since 1990, 20 tornadoes of varying intensity have impacted Cherokee County. Aside from tornadoes, numerous instances of large hail and damaging winds have caused millions of dollars in property damage in the last 30 years. Therefore, we encourage residents of Cherokee County to learn about the types of severe weather they may encounter, and how they should prepare.
A great first step is to have a plan in place for where you will go if a severe thunderstorm, tornado or flash flood warning is issued. If you do not have a safe place to go to during severe weather, make arrangements to stay with family or friends until the threat is over. If you’re in a vehicle, have a plan for any scenario you may face, so you can protect yourself. If you live in or near flood zones, know how you will move to higher ground to avoid flood waters. Cherokee County Emergency Management recommends you have a Ready Kit, with all necessary items to sustain you for a few days after a disaster strikes. For the checklist, visit https://gema.georgia.gov/ready-kit-checklist.
Cherokee County residents are encouraged to have more than one way to receive a watch or warning from the National Weather Service. As you may know, Cherokee County offers a free, mass notification system called CodeRED to county residents. This service provides phone, text and email alerts for weather watches and warnings. For more information and to register, visit www.cherokeega-ema.org, and click on the CodeRED icon. Or, text CHEROKEEALERT to 99411. Additionally, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios, wireless emergency alerts, weather apps and local television broadcasts are good ways to receive a watch or warning. Outdoor warning sirens are meant to alert individuals in an outdoor setting, such as parks, and should not be relied upon as your primary way to receive a tornado warning.
Cherokee County Emergency Management provides severe weather preparedness information throughout the year on its Facebook (@CherokeeEMA) and Twitter (@ema_CherokeeGA) accounts. Additional preparedness materials can be found on our website at www.cherokeega-ema.org, by clicking the Are You Ready? icon.
– Daniel Westbrook is the director of the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency and has been with the agency since 2016.