Severe storms like the one in this picture from NOAA are raging somewhere on the Earth right now. In fact… there are about 1800 thunderstorms occurring over the world. That is over 16 million a year. In Iowa we see our share of thunderstorms. There is a chance for thunderstorms this evening and again over the weekend. Not all are severe. But when the environment is just right for strong storms you might hear us put out a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. It means you need to watch for the possibility of severe storms. The watch usually covers a wide area of the state…several counties will be included in the watch. When you hear a Severe Thunderstorm Warning…you need to take cover if you live in the very specific area of the warning. Your county will be listed and even the neighborhood where you live will be covered in a polygon. Do not go outside. If you are in your car during a severe thunderstorm…stay in the car. Pull to the side of the road when the rain and wind make it too difficult to see the road ahead. If you are outside…get indoors if you can. If not…stay away from tall poles or trees. In an open area…crouch down and make yourself as small as possible. Large Hail and Damaging wind In 2009 Hardin County was slammed with a huge hail storm. 2″ diameter hail fell over the city of Eldora. The hail came with 60 mph wind that shot the stones through homes and cars like bullets out of a gun. The damage was estimated to top the total loss that Parkersburg had in the devastating tornado the year before. Many homes had no windows left after the storm. Siding had huge holes and 22 people were injured. 11 were taken to the hospital for the wounds from the hail. Wind in severe storms can be as damaging as a tornado. Straight line wind can move at 125 mph. That is equivalent to a category 3 hurricane….or an EF2 tornado. Here are more great tips from the NWS to keep you and your family safe during severe weather. www.crh.noaa.gov/images/dmx/SWAW%20PNS/2011-TStorms.pdf
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