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A Spring Reminder – What Do Weather Warnings Mean and What Should You Do?

Approaching tornado
Hemera

Spring will be here before you know it, and along with it the best chance for severe weather this year.The period of March, April, and May is the time of year where we see the most severe thunderstorms and tornadoes around our part of the country. The peak is from early April thru mid May.

As we get into late May we begin to settle into a summertime pattern, which rapidly decreases the chances for tornadoes, but still leaves the chances for severe thunderstorms.

There are several kinds of watches and warnings which are issued by the National Weather Service.

They include:

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: This means conditions are favorable for Severe Thunderstorms to develop. A storm becomes severe if its winds are at least 50 miles per hour. These storms often contain hail of various sizes, with frequent deadly lighting. You should watch the skies and listen to your radio for any possible warnings.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: This is broadcast when the National Weather Service detects a thunderstorm on radar that fits the description of a severe thunderstorm. If a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area, then weather conditions can be expected to deteriorate rapidly.

You should take cover in a sturdy structure and ride out the storm. This will hopefully keep you out of situations where hail pummels your vehicle and blinding rains may make driving difficult.

Tornado Watch: A Tornado Watch simply means that conditions are favorable for Severe Thunderstorms to develop which could very likely spawn tornadoes. A watch is usually issued hours before bad weather may develop.

You should monitor radio stations are other venues to keep up with the weather in case Severe Storms and tornadoes develop and watch the skies for darkening clouds.

Tornado Warning: A Tornado Warning means that a possible tornado has been detected on radar or has been seen by the public. The National Weather Service will then issue a Tornado Warning for the county or counties that will be imminently affected by this storm and possible tornado.

If a Tornado Warning is issued for your area, you should immediately seek shelter in a sturdy structure. Be prepared to get to a reinforced part of the building away from outer walls and windows. Do not try and outrun a tornado in your vehicle and do not stay in a mobile home. If caught in the path of one of these storms, get out of the vehicle or mobile home and lie flat in a ditch if possible.

Flash Flood Watch: This means conditions are favorable for heavy rains that may cause flash flooding. Simply monitor radio or other sources in the event that heavy rains begin that could lead to floods.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood warning is issued when heavy rains and thunderstorms are detected on radar that have the potential to drop heavy enough rain to cause flooding of streams, underpasses, and the like.

If a flash flood warning is issued by the weather service, you should get to higher ground if possible if you are in a flood-prone zone. Delay travel until the storm subsides and the waters recede.

Do not try and drive through a flooded roadway or underpass. It is likely that you will misjudge the depth of the water. It only takes a few inches of water sometimes to sweep your vehicle off the roadway.

The best idea during the Spring Severe Weather Months is to keep up with the day to day forecasts and take the watches and warnings seriously. Keep your radio on and listen for updates and take the proper actions when warnings are issued.

It is probably a good idea to invest in a N.O.A.A. weather radio to keep handy at night that can alert you while you are sleeping to an immediate threat. It is never a bad idea to stock up on batteries for radios in case the worst happens and you lose power, then you will still be in touch with what is going on in the area.

Bottled water, flashlights,food supplies and toiletries could be essentials if we ever experience a bad tornado.

 

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