...Minnesota severe weather awareness week...day one
...Thunderstorms...hail...wind and lightning...
affect relatively small areas when compared with most other
storms. The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and
lasts for 30 minutes. But despite this size... all thunderstorms
are dangerous. Severe thunderstorms produce large hail or winds of
at least 58 mph. Some wind gusts can exceed 100 mph and produce
tornado-like damage. Many communities will sound their outdoor
sirens for very damaging straight-line winds. When a severe
thunderstorm threatens...stay inside a strong structure. Mobile
home occupants should go to a more permanent structure.
is another product of thunderstorms that annually causes nearly one
billion dollars in damage throughout the United States. Many of
the losses are incurred by farmers. The most common diameter is
pea size...but hail can be as large as Golf balls and baseballs.
In extreme cases hail can reach grapefruit size. Large hail stones
fall at speeds faster than 100 mph and have been known to kill
The largest hail stone in Minnesota last year was 3.75 inches...or
slightly smaller than the size of a grapefruit. The stone fell
August 27 in the town of New York Mills.
thunderstorms can produce strong wind gusts. These straight-line winds
have been known to exceed 100 miles per hour. For this
reason...you should treat severe thunderstorms just as you would
tornadoes. Move to an appropriate shelter if in the path of the
The strong out rush of wind from a thunderstorm is often called a
downburst. One of the primary causes is rain-cooled air...which
accelerates rapidly downward... producing a potentially damaging
gust of wind.
Strong downbursts are often mistaken for tornadoes. They can produce
extensive damage and are often accompanied by a roaring sound
similar to that of a tornado. Downbursts can easily overturn
Mobile homes...tear roofs off houses...and topple trees. People
who are camping are especially vulnerable...due to trees toppling
onto their Camp sites.
The highest wind gust recorded last year in Minnesota was 89 mph which
occurred in the town of Rothsay on August 31.
every thunderstorm produces lightning...which on a National basis...kills
more people than tornadoes in a given year.
Every thunderstorm produces lightning...which on a National basis...kills
more people than tornadoes in a given year. Lightning kills
around 100 americans annually...with about 300 injuries. The
majority of fatalities occur during leisure activities... like
softball or baseball...fishing and camping
The following are some safety tips...
1. All thunderstorms produce lightning. It is surprising
that so many people are not aware of this.
2. Get inside a building or enclosed vehicle.
Many fatalities occur when the warning signs are ignored.
3. If caught in an open area with lightning all around Crouch
down immediately. Put your hands on your knees but do not lie
down on the ground.
4. Do not use a corded telephone or electrical appliance. A nearby
lightning strike can travel through the phone or power
lines...right into the home.
5. Avoid seeking shelter beneath lone trees.
Myths and facts...
Myth...if it is not raining...there is no danger from lightning.
Fact...lightning often strikes away from heavy rainfall and may
occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
Myth...rubber soles of shoes...or rubber tires on a car will
protect you from being injured by lightning.
Fact...rubber provides no protection from lightning. However...
the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides
increased protection if you are not touching metal.
Myth...people struck by lightning carry an electrical charge
and should not be touched.
Fact...lightning-strike victims carry no electrical charge and
should be attended to immediately.
Myth...heat lightning occurs after very hot Summer days and poses
Fact...what is referred to as heat lightning is actually
lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder
to be heard. However...the storm may be moving in your