(WTVM) - Here in Georgia, thunderstorms are very common events, particularly during the spring and summer.
When a thunderstorm is strong enough, a severe thunderstorm warning could be issued for your area, but what does that mean?
With Georgia's Severe Weather Awareness Week underway, Meteorologist Elisabeth D'Amore has details on how you can stay safe when storms threaten the valley.
For a storm to be considered severe, it must produce hail the size of a quarter or larger, and/or winds 58 miles per hour or higher.
It is the thunderstorm wind that can be quite dangerous, in addition to lightning and heavy rain.
From 1950 to 2010, more than 15 deaths and more than 300 injuries were caused by damaging winds across north and central Georgia.
During a thunderstorm, you want to make sure you're inside and away from windows.
Go ahead and close the blinds and curtains to keep a barrier between you and broken glass if a window should be blown out.
You also want to avoid using electrical items due to lightning and stay weather alert until the storm passes - severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes. On average, a severe thunderstorm lasts for 30 minutes.
A great way to stay informed during a storm especially if your power were to go out is with a NOAA weather radio.
You should keep your trees and shrubbery trimmed and clean to avoid loose limbs from falling and damaging property.
Also, after the storm passes stay away from downed power lines and flooded roadways.
There is a severe weather section on the Weather tab that has more information on severe storms.