The National Weather Service considers a thunderstorm severe if the any of the following happens:
- the thunderstorm produces hail at least 1" in diameter
- winds in excess of 58 m.p.h. are observed
- a tornado is produced.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH means conditions are favorable for the development of thunderstorms that may turn severe.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING means severe weather is in the area, and you need to take safety precautions.
Here are some safety tips for when a thunderstorm is approaching:
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Seek safe shelter immediately.
- DO NOT seek shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles. Move to a sturdy building or car.
- If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, seek shelter inside a hard top car and keep windows up.
- Stay away from water, this includes boats.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Avoid using corded telephones or any electrical appliances. Cell phones are the safest to use during storms.
- Do not take a bath or shower.
- Power surges from lightning can overload compressors. Anything not attached to a surge protector should be turned off and unplugged.
- If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!