Taking Severe Thunderstorm Warnings Seriously
It’s easy to under-react to the warning of a severe thunderstorm versus a tornado warning. But the truth is these storms can still be extremely dangerous, and occasionally deadly.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a severe thunderstorm refers to a thunderstorm producing hail that is at least 1 inch in diameter or larger, and/or wind gusts of 58 mph or greater, and/or a tornado. And the difference between a watch means severe weather is possible during the next few hours, while a warning means that severe weather has been observed, or is expected within the hour.
Here are a few of the top reasons why you should heed the warning of an approaching severe thunderstorm:
• Lightning: Every thunderstorm produces lightning. And while the number of fatalities due to lightning strikes has decreased over the years, the risk still remains with approximately 51 deaths a year. Take shelter indoors and avoid contact with electrical, metal devices during a severe thunderstorm.
• Flooding: Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities (more than 140 annually) than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard. It is important to remove yourself from the premises and follow directions from local authorities for community evacuations. Standard insurance policies do not typically cover folding. Protect your home, rental or business with a flood insurance policy.
• Destructive Winds: Damage from severe thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes. Seek shelter in your basement if you have large trees surrounding you home under a severe thunderstorm warning. Before storms hit, keep your trees trimmed back and away from structures.