It may still be cold with plenty of snow on the ground, but spring is right around the corner. Warmer weather will come the threat for severe thunderstorms.
This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio. The goal is to educate people on the destructive power of severe storms, and provide advice on how you can stay safe.
We put some information in the form of a quiz, and put people to the test at a local Starbucks. Watch the video above to try the quiz out along with our contestants, and put your knowledge to the test. There??s also a link at the bottom with an expanded set of questions dealing with severe weather.
Things To Know
Severe weather can happen anytime of the year, but is most common in the spring and early summer here in Ohio. The definition of a severe storm is any storm that threatens life and property, be it through powerful winds, large hail, tornadoes or a combination of the three. Between 2008 and 2012, 48 people were killed in Ohio as a result of severe weather, with another 131 injured. Knowing some basic facts will help keep you safe when Mother Nature turns nasty.
The difference between a watch and warning
When a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Tornado Watch are issued, that means conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop. When a watch is issued, you should be on heightened alert and closely monitor current conditions, as severe thunderstorms can sometimes develop in a matter of minutes, providing little time to react. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Warning means severe weather has been spotted or is indicated by radar, and you should take immediate action. You should take shelter in a sturdy building while avoiding travel and weakly built structures, such as trailers and mobile homes.
Also note that any thunderstorm, even ones that are not severe, can produce deadly lightning strikes. Some bolts can strike more than ten miles away from the main storm, so if you hear thunder, you should seek shelter and stay inside until a half hour after the last rumble.
The most important thing is to stay up to date on the forecast. While it??s impossible to determine how bad a particular severe weather season will be, advances in forecasting technology make it possible to tell if severe weather will strike about 48 hours ahead of time.
Also as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, many places will be testing their outdoor sirens Wednesday morning. Officials say it's a good opportunity for schools, businesses and families to try their own severe weather/tornado drills, so you'll know what to do if a severe storm approaches.
Speaking of sirens, they are meant for people outdoors, and you should not rely on them as your source of information on severe weather if you're inside.