Severe thunderstorms are often accompanied by cloud-to-ground lightning, high winds, and hail. These storms typically last an average of 20-30 minutes before dissipating, but can cause significant damages:s
- Downbursts and straight-line winds can produce 100-150 mph winds.
- Lightning is responsible for more deaths annually than tornadoes.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING means that a severe thunderstorm is either occurring at the moment or is imminent (as indicated by Doppler radar). A thunderstorm is classified as “severe” if it produces dime-sized hail and/or wind gusts in excess of 58 mph, or if the storm produces a tornado.
During a severe thunderstorm:
- Seek sturdy indoor shelter and stay away from windows.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment and cords.
- Avoid natural lightning rods (such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area).
- Avoid contact with anything metal.
- If you are driving, try to safely pull off the road and park.
Calculating Lightning Distance:
To estimate your distance from lightning, use the “Flash to Bang” method: if you observe lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear the thunder clap. Divide the number of seconds by 5 to calculate the lightning distance (in miles).
High Point University uses WeatherBug to monitor forecasts and weather impacts. A WeatherBug app is available for download on mobile phones, and will provide up-to-date forecast information for the HPU campus community. WeatherBug also provides the distance and location of the most recent lightning strikes.