And the Thunder Rolls…
A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least one inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles-per-hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.
In the event of a storm, do you know the difference between a thunderstorm watch and warning?
A severe thunderstorm watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
A severe thunderstorm warning means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
Every year, people are killed or seriously injured by severe thunderstorms, despite advance warning. While some did not hear the warning, others did but chose not to pay attention to it.
- Discuss thunderstorm safety with all members of your household.
- Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail.
- Protect pets by ensuring any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same manner as your home.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit and fill it with items such as food, water, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio), extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications, sanitation and personal hygiene items, copies of personal documents, cell phone with chargers, family and emergency contact information, cash and multi-purpose tools.
- Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
- If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors!
- Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
- Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
- Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and out of the vehicle.
- If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms. Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.