A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and high winds can damage homes, blow down trees and cause widespread power outages.
The National Weather Service describes a tornado as a “violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground.” Tornados are capable destroying well-made structures, hurling objects through the air and uprooting trees.
The FOX23 Severe Weather Team said it’s key to know the different types of watches and warnings seen in Oklahoma. The difference between a watch and a warning is the timing and action that needs to be taken.
A watch means conditions are favorable for a weather event to happen, and a watch highlights a large area of counties that could see storms. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means those storms are possible in any storms. A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to form in any severe storm that develops.
A warning means that the storm has already formed, and residents need to take immediate action. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means large hail and damaging winds are likely in the storm, and residents should head in doors immediately and stay away from windows. A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been spotted, or radar indicates a tornado is already occurring or could form at any time.
The FOX23 Severe Weather Team also recommended that residents have multiple ways to receive weather information and alerts in case the power goes out. There are several ways to receive weather information: television, radio, NOAA, weather radios or mobile apps. The FOX23 Weather App allows you to receive alerts, track the storms down to street level and watch live as the FOX23 Severe Weather Team tracks storms moving through.
It’s also important to make a severe weather plan for the season in Green Country.
The FOX23 Severe Weather Team said it’s important to have a fully-stocked emergency supply kit with enough water and non-perishable food items. It’s crucial to determine the safest place in your home. This will be the lowest and most central part of the house. This area can be an interior bathroom, a storm shelter or a closet under the stairs. Families should also identify a place to meet if separated during the storm.
For more tips about preparing for severe weather, check out FOX23′s Severe Weather Tip Sheet.
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