Severe Weather Awareness: Hail, High Wind, Lightning

Large hail can cause tremendous damage Courtesy: NOAA

Lightning, wind, and hail are all parts of thunderstorms. Not all storms are equal; sometimes wind and hail can be particularly damaging.

If we’re under a severe thunderstorm watch, it’s possible we’ll see large hail and damaging wind. Make sure outdoor items are secured so they don’t blow around, and that cars are in garages to protect them from hail.

A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a storm is capable of producing hail that is quarter-sized or larger…or a wind speed of 58 miles per hour or more. the amount of lightning and rain that occurs has nothing to do with a storm being labeled as “severe”.

Wind damage is often seen as downed trees and power lines. But straight-line wind can reach speeds over 100 miles per hour, and tornado-like damage is possible to some buildings.

Large hail can damage anything outside. Hail smaller than the size of a quarter typically won’t cause damage…and quarter-size hail may cause a few dings. The damaging potential to cars, buildings, and vegetation grows from there as hail gets larger. The largest hailstones can be a bit larger than softballs, and these chunks of ice will fall at speeds over 100 miles per hour.

When a warning is issued, it’s very important that you’re indoors. Stay away from windows until the storm has passed. While straight-line wind may not be enough to break windows on its own, flying debris or large hail carried by strong wind may break those windows.

Warnings are not issued for lightning. Yet an average of fifty-five to sixty people a year will die due to lightning strikes.

“When thunder roars, go indoors.” If you are close enough to a storm to hear thunder, you are close enough to be hit by lightning.

Head into an enclosed shelter if you rear thunder within thirty seconds of seeing lightning. A building works, or even a car with the windows rolled up.
Wait thirty minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder before resuming outdoor activities.

These simple steps put you in a safer place when storms roar.

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