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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.

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).

UntitledHigh 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.