After a cold winter, we all look forward to the coming of spring. However, with the pleasures of spring also comes the severity of dangerous weather. Spring is the most common time of year for severe thunderstorms and tornados to occur.
Severe thunderstorms are thunderstorms that reach a predetermined level of severity, depending on the storm’s inclination to inflict lightning, wind or hail damage. A storm is considered severe if winds reach more than 58 mph, hail is one inch or larger in diameter or if funnel clouds and/or tornadoes are reported.
One of Mother Nature’s most violent storms, tornado winds can reach up to 300 mph and leave paths of destruction in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornadoes generally appear near the edge of a thunderstorm and may be preceded by clear, sunlit skies.
- The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but can move in any direction
- A tornado travels at an average speed of 30mph, but can increase to 70mph
- Peak tornado season is in late spring through early summer
- Tornados are most likely to occur between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm
- At any given moment, there are more than 1,800 thunderstorms occurring worldwide
- The odds of becoming a lightning victim in any one year are one in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime are one in 3,000.
Severe Weather – Helpful Tips:
1. Build an emergency kit, including:
- first aid kit
- extra batteries
- cell phone
2. Make an emergency plan and establish a meeting place
3. Listen to the local radio or newscast for weather updates
4. Know your communities warning sirens
5. Be alert to changing weather conditions and look for approaching storms
6. Look for danger signs:
- Dark, greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train
7. If you see approaching storms or any of these danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately
8. Do not use electrical equipment during a lightning storm