I'm a Christian who loves weather. I have been into weather since I was 3 years old and I continue to study weather, I'm also a weather spotter
By: tornadocam , 4:09 AM GMT on February 19, 2013
Severe Thunderstorms are common in Tennessee during the spring, summer and fall months. Some of these storms can be very intense and severe. A severe thunderstorm is defined by the Weather service as have damaging winds over 58 mph, hail 1 inch or bigger, and or tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms can cause a lot of damage. Lot of people think about tornadoes and for good reason, but people need to be aware tornadoes are produced by severe thunderstorms. Even Severe thunderstorms that do not produce a tornado can still do a lot of damage in the form of hail, or straight line winds. Not to mention with any thunderstorm lightning is also a threat as well as flooding. lighting and flooding claim more lives than tornadoes and hurricanes do.
Severe Thunderstorms need to be taken seriously. Most of our Severe Thunderstorms come in the form of super cells or squall lines. Super Cells are thunderstorms that have updrafts, and often rotation. A Squall line is a line of severe thunderstorms that has damaging winds, hail and often times tornadoes.
I will discuss straight line winds. Straight line winds or damaging winds over 58 mph, but sometimes the winds may guest to over 100 mph. Those type of winds can do some of the damage seen in tornadoes. Straight line winds can topple large trees, snap power lines and rip off roofs of houses. If caught or aware of these winds people need to treat them like a tornado warning, if outside go into the lower interior of a strong building if no shelter is available go into a ditch. Get out of mobile homes if in them as mobile homes are easily destroyed. Keep in mind some storms have straight line winds and tornadoes in them.
Hail, can also be damaging as it can break windows, punch wholes in roofs and damage crops. Hail can range in size but quarter size or more does the most damage. Some hailstones can be grapefruit size. Unlike western states it is more common to see quarter sized hail here in Southeast Tennessee. The main reason is storms out west often have less moisture this allows the ice crystals to keep circulating in the clouds. Here our thunderstorms have lots of moisture so the hail stones often times do not have a chance to get real big as the ice and water adds weight to the cloud. still even dime sized hail can do a lot of damage if it comes down all at once or last for a long time
Lightning, all thunderstorms have lighting but lighting is often an overlooked hazard. Lighting can start fires but more people in an average year are killed by lighting strikes and flooding than tornadoes. Another hidden danger is flooding. A lot of our thunderstorms drop a lot of heavy rain in addition to tornadoes, wind and hail. Flooding is one of the major killers among natural disasters. Lot of times people cannot tell how deep water is in creeks or when it comes across the road. 6 inches can knock a human down and 9 inches can move a vehicle. If you see water across the road don't drive or go into it and stay away from creeks.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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