Thunderstorm Warning: A warning means a severe storm is heading toward your area and you need to seek shelter immediately. Expect strong winds, damaging hail, deadly lightning and heavy rainfall.
For facts and tips on thunderstorms, visit The National Weather Service.
Flash floods can occur after heavy rains. Make sure you don't get washed away.
Myth: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being struck by lightning.
Fact: Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
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. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information on CPR and first aid classes.
Myth: "Heat lightning" occurs after very hot summer days and poses no threat.
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 direction!
Further Reading on Lightning Safety
F1 Moderate, 73-112 mph, The lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads; attached garages may be destroyed.
F2 Significant, 113-157 mph, Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light object missiles generated.
F3 Severe, 158-206 mph, Roof and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted.
F4 Devastating, 207-260 mph, Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.
F5 Incredible, 261-318 mph, Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged.
F6 Inconceivable, 319-379 mph, These winds are very unlikely. The small area of damage they might produce would probably not be recognizable along with the mess produced by F4 and F5 wind that would surround the F6 winds. Missiles, such as cars and refrigerators would do serious secondary damage that could not be directly identified as F6 damage. If this level is ever achieved, evidence for it might only be found in some manner of ground swirl pattern, for it may never be identifiable through engineering studies.
The Enhanced-Fujita Scale is an update to the original F-Scale mentioned above,
modified by a team of meteorologists and wind engineers and was implemented for
operational use on February 1, 2007. The new scale takes into account quality
of construction and standardizes different kinds of structures. The wind speeds
on the original scale were deemed by meteorologists and engineers as being too
high and engineering studies indicated that slower winds than initially
estimated cause the respective degrees of damage. The new scale lists an EF5 as
a tornado with winds at or above 200 mph (324 km/h), found to be sufficient to
cause the damage previously ascribed to the F5 range of wind speeds. None of the
tornadoes recorded on or before January 31, 2007 will be re-categorized.
EF1 Moderate, 86-110 mph, Roofs severely stripped; mobile homes overturned or badly damaged; loss of exterior doors; windows and other glass broken.
EF2 Considerable, 111-135 mph, Roofs torn off well-constructed houses; foundations of frame homes shifted; mobile homes completely destroyed; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground.
EF3 Severe, 136-165 mph, Entire stories of well-constructed houses destroyed; severe damage to large buildings such as shopping malls; trains overturned; trees debarked; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance.
EF4 Devastating, 166-200 mph, Well-constructed houses and whole frame houses completely leveled; cars thrown and small missiles generated.
EF5 Incredible, >200 mph, Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 m (109 yd); high-rise buildings have significant structural deformation; incredible phenomena will occur.
Tornadoes are the earth's most violent storms. Be prepared in the event of a tornado warning.
Hurricane watch: Winds above 74 miles per hour. Hurricane conditions threatening land are a serious possibility.
Hurricane warning: Winds above 74 miles per hour. Hurricane force winds are expected to hit land.
The Saffir/Simpson hurricane scale:
Category One: A hurricane with wind speeds between 74 and 95 m.p.h. or with a storm surge four to five feet above normal.
Category Two: A hurricane with wind speeds between 96 and 110 m.p.h. or with a storm surge six to eight feet above normal.
Category Three: A hurricane with wind speeds between 111 and 130 m.p.h. or with a storm surge nine to 12 feet above normal.
Category Four: A hurricane with wind speeds between 131 and 155 m.p.h. or with a storm surge 13 to 18 feet above normal.
Category Five: A hurricane with wind speeds greater than 155 m.p.h. or with a storm surge greater than 18 feet above normal.
For more information concerning watches and warnings, go to the National Hurricane Center page.
Be sure you're safe! Check out Hurricane Preparedness.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
Winter Weather Advisory: Cold, ice and snow are expected.
Winter Storm Watch: Severe winter weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible within the next day or two.
Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin.
Blizzard Warning: Heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Though we may not get much snow here, know what to do if you are traveling and get stuck in severe winter weather.
Wind Chill Information.