A SEVERE WEATHER CLIMATOLOGY FOR NORTH AND CENTRAL GEORGIA
Severe weather is common in Peachtree City's CWA. Damaging thunderstorm winds, large hail, and tornadoes strike the area each year.
Damaging winds occur, on average, 19 days per year. These events have taken place in every month of the year, but tend to be most frequent during the spring and summer months. The peak month is July during which more than 500 events were reported over the past 40 years. During the favored months, the most likely time of day for wind damage is mid afternoon through early evening.
Large hail pelts the CWA on average 7 days per year. April is the month of peak occurrence, but many episodes have also been reported in the other spring and summer months. During this active period, the most likely time of occurrence is from mid afternoon through early evening.
The average number of tornado days is 6 per year. While tornadoes have been reported in all months of the year, most occur in the March-April-May time frame. During this "tornado season" the most likely time of occurrence is from mid afternoon through early evening.
Tornado intensities of F2 or greater are involved in 37% of the events when the data are broken down into a county-by-county basis. These strong tornadoes are more likely to occur during the month of April than in any other month.
During the period 1950 - 1993, 72 people lost their lives in tornadoes. Almost 1700 were injured.
Forecasters may be able to utilize the temporal tendencies displayed in the climatology. The data show that during the most active severe weather months, the most likely time of occurrence is from mid afternoon through early evening. An exceptional tendency is seen in the February wind damage data - a morning maximum just prior to sunrise. October and March show a similar pattern, but the tendency is not nearly so prominent. Armed with this knowledge and other such tendencies, forecasters can make operational plans that will put the WFO in the proper warning posture. Of course, not all severe weather episodes follow the climatological norm. Thus there remains the need for vigilance and utilization of all available diagnostic and detection tools whenever thunderstorms are a possibility.
The authors express appreciation to Gary Beeley (SOO FFC) for reviewing this paper, and for his helpful comments. Thanks, too, to Dave Gaffin (NWSFO MEM) for providing us with a copy of 1972 Storm Data.