For the second day of severe weather awareness week, Stormteam2 will focus on severe thunderstorms- something that the Lowcountry is no stranger to when it comes to severe weather. On average, 100,000 thunderstorms will occur within a year in the United States, and only 10% of those storms will be categorized as severe. Even though that seems like a small percentage, it is always good to prepare for what to do when a severe thunderstorm hits your area.
Within the Southeast, around 60 thunderstorms can occur during a year. Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours but can occur year-round and at all hours. A typical storm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts on average 30 minutes. So what should we watch to know when a thunderstorm is approaching?
Every thunderstorm needs:
Moisture: to form the clouds and the rain that will come down
Unstable air: Which is warm air than can rise rapidly
Lift: This is caused by cold or warm fronts, sea breezes, or even the sun’s heat.
Mix all of that together to form a thunderstorm. However, there are certain qualifications that a storm needs to meet to be classified as severe. A storm must have winds of at least 58 mph and produce hail the size of 1 inch in diameter.
So what should you do when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your area? Remember this rhyme! When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors! You should stop all activities, and seek shelter in a substantial building or a hard-topped vehicle. Wait for the warning to expire, and stay informed through a NOAA radio or with our StormTeam 2 Weather App.