Weather and Climate
Hinesville and Savannah’s climate is classified as humid subtropical. In the Deep South this climate is characterized by long and almost tropical summers, with temperatures reaching freezing on about 25 days in the winter (and with rare snowfall). Due to its proximity to the Atlantic coast, the two cities rarely experience temperatures as extreme as those in Georgia’s interior. Nevertheless, the extreme temperatures have officially ranged from 105 degrees, as recently as July 20, 1986, down to 3 degrees, on Jan. 21, 1985.
Summers tend to be humid with many thunderstorms. Nearly half of the cities’ precipitation falls during the months of June through September, characteristic of monsoon-type climates. Hinesville and Savannah both get 49 inches of rain per year, compared with the national average of 37. As the cities are south of the snow line, Hinesville and Savannah rarely receive snow in winter. Occasional Arctic cold fronts in winter can push nighttime temperatures as low as 20 degrees, but rarely further than that.
On average, there are 215 sunny days per year in Hinesville. The July high is around 93 degrees. The January low is 40. There are an average of 216 sunny days per year in Savannah. The July high is around 92 degrees. The January low is 39.
Every second counts in a disaster so planning and preparation can be lifesavers.
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign supported by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) department aimed at motivating Georgians to take action to prepare for a disaster. GEMA/HS coordinates the state’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts to disasters. The program’s website offers online access to tools that will help you plan and be prepared for a disaster, and its mobile app lets you put preparedness tools in the palm of your hand. Visit www.ready.ga.gov to take advantage of these valuable local resources.
The following are considered significant hazards in Georgia.
Many communities in Georgia experience some kind of flooding, usually after spring rains or heavy thunderstorms.
A flash flood watch is issued when flash flooding is expected to occur within six hours after heavy rains have ended. A flash flood warning is issued for life- and property-threatening flooding that will occur within six hours. During a flash flood watch or warning, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio for further weather information.
If you are outdoors during a rainstorm, seek higher ground. Avoid walking through any floodwaters — even water 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. If you are driving, avoid flooded areas. The majority of deaths in flash floods occur when people drive through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. Water only a foot deep can displace a vehicle. If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water can engulf a vehicle and sweep it away.
As a coastal state, Georgia is at risk for hurricanes. Due to its location, it is susceptible to hurricane-related hazards from tropical storms from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, torrential rain, powerful winds, tornadoes and flooding. It is important to have a plan in place to prepare for these hazards.
To learn more about hurricane preparedness in Georgia, go to Ready Georgia’s website at www.ready.ga.gov/Stay-Informed/Hurricanes.
Some exposure to sunlight is good, even healthy, but too much can be dangerous. Broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation, listed as a known carcinogen by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, can cause blistering sunburns, as well as long-term problems such as skin cancer, cataracts and immune system suppression. Overexposure also causes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
Cloud cover reduces UV levels, but not completely. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, you can still burn on a cold and dim day, so be prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, long-sleeved garments, wide-brimmed hats and a parasol.
While more likely at certain times of year, thunderstorms can happen anytime. A severe thunderstorm can knock out power, bring high winds, lightning, flash floods and hail, and turn into a twister in seconds. Pay attention to storm warnings. Remember the rule: “When thunder roars, head indoors.” Once inside, avoid electrical appliances and plumbing fixtures, and use only a cordless telephone in an emergency. Unplug your desktop computer. Do the same with other plugged-in electronics or use surge protectors. The National Weather Service recommends following the 30/30 Rule: People should seek shelter if the “Flash-to-Bang” delay — length of time in seconds from the sight of the lightning flash to the arrival of its subsequent thunder — is 30 seconds or less. Remain under cover for 30 minutes after the final thunderclap.
For more safety information, visit the National Weather Service’s website at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
All of Georgia is prone to tornadoes. In 2013, a powerful EF-3 tornado hit Georgia, causing significant damage, killing one man and injuring at least a dozen others.
Tornadoes can develop quickly, with minimal warning, so it is important to have a plan in place before they occur. If a tornado watch is issued, weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, such as during a severe thunderstorm. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately during a tornado warning.
Know where the safest place of shelter is in your home: a basement or an inside room on the lowest floor (like a closet or bathroom) if your home does not have a basement. Avoid windows and get under something sturdy, like a heavy table, and cover your body with a blanket or mattress to protect yourself from flying debris.
For more information on tornado preparedness, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes.