Tornado season underway in Georgia

March 1 marks the beginning of Georgia's official tornado season

It was four years ago today that a pair of tornadoes ripped through Sumter County killing at least two people. It's for that reason local officials in Dougherty County want to make sure you're prepared for a tornado.

"March, April and May are typically our most active months," said Charlotte Floyd of Albany 911.

March 1 marks the beginning of Georgia's official tornado season, and we want to ensure that all residents are prepared for the violent nature of tornadoes," said Charley English, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security director. "Tornadoes are a real threat in Georgia, no matter where in the state you live."

Tornadoes are most destructive when they touch ground, and normally a tornado will stay on the ground for no more than 20 minutes. However, one tornado can touch ground several times in different areas with severe wind speeds uprooting trees and structures and turning harmless objects into deadly missiles, all in a matter of seconds.

Floyd and her team man the command center, which sounds the 14 alarms in Dougherty County in case of Tornado warnings and severe weather warnings. Those warnings come from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

But if they do sound, do you know what to do?

"We want you to have a plan in place, so you know what to do should an alarm go off and say there is a tornado headed your way. You know to go to an interior room, you know to hunker down and get safe and to have a safety kit prepared," said Emergency Management Director Jim Vaught.

Vaught says that kit should include things like water, food, important documents and first aid. The key is to always be ready

"All it takes is one, so if that one comes through, whether it's one or a hundred, if you get that one, that's the one that counts, so we want you to be prepared for that," said Vaught.

Dougherty County has resources set up to warn when severe weather strikes.