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Tornado season not over yet
hodges points to doppler radar
LHEMA Director Mike Hodges points to a radar image on his computer when a storm front recently moved through the area. - photo by Courier file photo
After weeks of heavy rain and wind in Georgia, residents recently have been treated to a few days of sun and warm temperatures. However, as tornado season peaks, Hinesville EMA Director Mike Hodges said Georgians shouldn’t turn their backs on the weather for too long.
“Tornados are so much different than anything else because you don’t know about it until it happens,” Hodges said. “You can monitor hurricanes for days, but not tornados.”
Hodges said springtime weather patterns are erratic and can change drastically and quickly. In addition, he said this season seems to be an active one.
“We’re seeing a bit of a new pattern,” Hodges said. “It’s coming earlier. We’ve had heavier spring activity for the past couple of years.”
And the local landscape and residents have been feeling the difference. According to Pam Knox, assistant state climatologist, April has already been the busiest month so far.
“For this year, preliminary values for tornadoes are two in January, 16 in February, four in March and 36 in April,” she said. Knox said these are preliminary values, however, and sometimes decrease upon further investigation.
 Last year, the NOAA recorded zero tornadoes in January, 12 in February, 23 in March, zero in April and 36 in May. In 2007 there were four in January, one in February, 29 in March and 15 in April.
“We do watch the trends very closely,” Hodges said.
While he said it’s hard to predict the outcome of the season, based on the past few years and the heavier-than-normal start to the season, he expects it to be busy and long one.
“The season really lasts all the way through until the cold weather comes.”
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