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Thunderstorms

THUNDERSTORM SAFETY
  • Thunderstorms can produce straight-line/down-burst winds of over 100 miles an hour.
  • Stay inside and away from windows. A basement is the best defense against the powerful winds.
  • Thunderstorms can produce "giant" hail, much bigger than softballs. A large stone hurled to earth at over 100 mph will smash anything in its way.
  • Avoid the outdoors, and move to a bathroom or the interior of the building. Windows can be shattered from wind driven hail.
  • Thunderstorms also produce flash flooding. Across the U.S., flooding kills more people on average than even tornadoes.
  • Avoid water covered roads. Know the county you live in and nearby counties and cities.
STRAIGHT-LINE THUNDERSTORM WINDS
 
Storm spotters and meteorologist have used the term "straight-line thunderstorm winds" for years to describe any non-tornadic winds produced by thunderstorms. The most frequently encountered type of damaging straight-line wind in a thunderstorm is that associated with the leading edge of the rain cooled outflow, known as the gust front. Although most thunderstorms outflow winds range from 30 to 50 mph, on occasion these winds can exceed 60 mph.
 
When these winds are potentially damaging to structures on the ground, or to aircraft in flight, these winds are referred to as downbursts. There are two types of downbursts: microbursts produce strong winds less than 2.5 miles in diameter, while macrobursts result in strong winds over an area 2.5 mile in diameter or larger. Downbursts occur with all types of thunderstorms, from single cell to supercells. Downburst-producing storms often give little advance indications of the imminent danger on weather radar or the spotter, so warnings are difficult to issue.
 
FLASH FLOOD & FLOOD SAFETY
Many people do not realize the force of flowing water. Trees, buildings, automobiles, and people are easily swept away by flood waters. Only six inches of rapidly-moving flood water can knock you off your feet, and a depth of two feet will float your car away.
  • NEVER try to walk, swim or drive through flood water.
  • If your car does stall in high water, abandon it immediately and move to higher ground.
  • Be especially night when darkness may hide high flood dangers.

National Weather Service Watches/Warnings

FLASH FLOOD/FLOOD WATCH: Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated WATCH area - be alert.
FLASH FLOOD/FLOOD WARNING: Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent - take necessary precautions at once.
URBAN AND SMALL STREAM ADVISORY: Flooding of streams, streets, and low-lying areas is occurring.
LIGHTNING
 
Lightning is one of nature's most awe inspiring and dangerous phenomenon.
 
There is so much energy in a lightning flash that one discharge could light a 100-watt light bulb for more than 3 months. The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000 degrees F which is hotter than the surface of the sun!
 
Most lightning deaths occur while being outside, but there have been people killed while talking on the phone or standing near a window.
  • Lightning is one of nature's most awe inspiring and dangerous phenomenon.
  • There is so much energy in a lightning flash that one discharge could light a 100-watt light bulb for more than 3 months. The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000 degrees F which is hotter than the surface of the sun!
  • Most lightning deaths occur while being outside, but there have been people killed while talking on the phone or standing near a window.