Severe Weather Awareness Week: Severe Thunderstorms

Weather Blog

It is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa and it is a great time to refresh yourself and your family on how to stay weather aware and prepared heading into severe weather season. Iowa typically sees the majority of it’s severe storms and tornadoes between late March and August with the peak for tornado season being in May and June.

Today’s topic is severe thunderstorms. Not all thunderstorms are severe. Every thunderstorm has rain, thunder and lightning. That is what makes a thunderstorm, a thunderstorm. But some storms can become more intense and lead to potential property damage and even personal injury or death.

A storm is considered a Severe Thunderstorm if it produces hail greater than 1″ in size (about the size of a quarter) or has winds greater than 58 mph. Some severe storms can produce winds of more than 100 mph and that can lead to EF2 Tornado type damage. Severe storms can also lead to flash flooding and even tornadoes.

Large hail can damage roofs, siding, cars, windows and can even shred crops and trees of their leaves. This is especially a concern if a storm is producing both large hail and strong winds.

Megan Salois explains the difference between a thunderstorm and severe storm and how you should report hail size to your local Broadcast and National Weather Service meteorologists.


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