• Your disaster kit
• Your evacuation kit
• Surge protectors
• Blanket for the car, in case you’re shelteringfrom hail
BEFORE THE STORM STRIKES
- Know the county you live in and the names of the major nearby cities or towns. Severe weather warnings and statements are issued by county and reference major cities.
- Check the latest weather forecast and hazardous weather outlook on the storm prediction center webpage. http://www.spc.noaa.gov/
- Watch for signs of an approaching thunderstorm.
- If a storm is approaching, keep a NWR and/or AM/FM radio with you.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent. This is your best way to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
- Buy surge suppressors for key equipment.
- Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors
WHAT TO DO DURING A STORM
- Remember that if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
- At the first clap of thunder, go a large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder to back outside.
- Inside building, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity. Stay away from pools, indoor or outdoor, tubs, showers and other plumbing.
- If you are boating or swimming, get out of boats and away from the water, get to land and find shelter immediately.
- If you are caught outside and no shelter is available:
- Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles
- Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet, place your hands on your knees with your head between them, make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground.
- Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
- If a person is struck by lightning, call 911. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning. However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike. You are in no danger helping a lightning victim. The charge will not affect you.
- If you’re in a car when hail strikes, look for a shelter like a garage or a highway overpass. Make sure you pull completely off the highway. Do NOT leave the vehicle until it stops hailing. Stay away from car windows. Cover your eyes with something. If possible, get onto the floor face down, or lie down on the seat with your back to the windows. Put very small children under you, and cover their eyes.
What makes a thunderstorm severe?
The National Weather Service (NWS) uses wind speed and hail sizeto decide if a thunderstorm is “severe.” If the windgusts reach 58 mph or higher, or tornadoes are present, or the hailbigger than 1 inch.
A severe thunderstorm is a thunderstorm thatproduces...
- wind gusts of at least 58 mph (50 knots), and/or
- hail at least 1 inch diameter (quarter size) and/or
- a tornado
Hail are balls or chunks of ice larger than ¼ indiameter. Since they’re formed by updrafts within a storm,they occur even when it’s not freezing outside. They areassociated with storms and tornados, and often come during the warmspring months of April and May. Hail can be extremely damaging andsometimes deadly, so seek shelter immediately when there’s ahail warning.
Hail Size Chart: (diameter in inches)
Pea Size: 0.25 inches
Small Marble: 0.50 inches
Penny: 0.75 inches
Nickel: 0.88 inches
Quarter: 1.00 inches <--Any hail this size or larger issevere thunderstorm criteria
Half Dollar: 1.25 inches
Ping Pong Ball: 1.50
Golf Ball: 1.75 inches
Hen Egg: 2.00 inches
Tennis Ball: 2.50 inches
Baseball: 2.75 inches
Grapefruit: 4.00 inches
Softball: 4.50 inches
The strong wind gusts of severe thunderstorms can damagebuildings, knock down trees, and create a hazard due to wind-blowndebris:
Wind Speed Estimate:
25-31 mph: Large branches in motion; whistling heard intelephone wires.
32-38 mph: Whole trees in motion; inconveniencefelt walkingagainst the wind.
39-54 mph: Twigs break off trees; wind generally impedesprogress.
55-72 mph: Damage to chimneys and TV antennas; pushes overshallow rooted trees.
73-112 mph: Peels surfaces off roofs; windows broken; lightmobile homes pushed or overturned; moving cars pushed off road.
113-157 mph: Roofs torn off houses; cars lifted offground.
Lightning can be described as similar to a static dischargebetween clouds and the earth. With the disruption of of moistureand heat in our atmosphere, a static charge is formed from thecountless collisions of raindrops and/or hailstones in cumulonimbusclouds. Experts believe these collisions give the base of theseclouds a negative charge and with the right conditions, willrelease the charge of energy with different objects on theground
Even if you don't see the flash from lightning, we all know it'snear us from the sound we call thunder. Thunder occurs when thelight
heats the air to nearly 10,000 degrees Celsius. The rapidlyheated air effectively explodes and creates a shock wave that weknow as thunder.
If you hear thunder but are not sure how far away it is, simplywatch for a strike of lightning, count the seconds until you hearthe thunder and divide by 5. Let's say you see a flash of lightningin the distance and begin counting. You reach "10" just as thethunder crashes... taking 10 and dividing by 5 would give you 2...as in 2 miles away.
Which means you need to seek shelter. A simple rule forlightning is that if you see it, OR hear it, you need to seekshelter.
(NWS Indianapolis, NWS Central Ill)
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