These severe weather topics were presented during North Dakota 2021 Severe Summer Weather Week:
- Monday - Severe Thunderstorms
- Tuesday - Tornadoes
- Wednesday - Tornado Drill
- Thursday - Lightning
- Friday - Flash Flooding
Severe Thunderstorms 1
A Severe Thunderstorm is defined as a thunderstorm capable of producing:
- Wind gusts of 58 mph or greater and / or
- Hail of one inch in diameter or greater
In addition to damaging winds and large hail, severe thunderstorms are also capable of producing tornados, flash flooding and deadly lightning.
Stay away from windows! Flying debris and wind driven hail can break windows sending shards of glass through the air.
If camping, seek shelter inside a sturdy building as campers/RVs can be easily flipped by damaging winds associated with severe thunderstorms. Falling trees and large hail can easily penetrate the thin walls of a tent.
Those in mobile homes should go to their designated storm shelter. Destructive straight-line winds are capable of causing significant damage to mobile homes.
Severe thunderstorms are capable of producing tornadoes with little warning. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or your favorite media outlet for frequent weather updates.
Tornado Safety Tips
If in a building, go to the basement if one is available. Get under the stairs or a piece of sturdy furniture. If there is no basement, get to the centermost room on the lowest level, putting as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Protect your head, neck and spine.
Stay away from windows! Avoid seeking shelter in gymnasiums or large auditoriums.
If in a mobile home, seek a storm shelter or a nearby permanent building. Have a plan! 40% of tornado deaths occur in mobile homes.
If you are outside and cannot get inside a sturdy structure, lay down in a ditch or low lying area (beware of possible flooding).
When driving, if a tornado is spotted in the distance, stay calm and drive away from it. However, in heavy traffic, never try to outrun a tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building. If no building is available, lay down in a ditch or low lying area.
Tornado Drill 3
The tornado drill is a great time to:
- Review your severe weather plan of where to take shelter at home, work or at school
- Practice going to your shelter area
- Ensure you have multiple ways of receiving a warning. Don’t just rely on the siren!
Don’t just rely on the Tornado Siren!
Outdoor warning sirens are designed to warn those outside of threatening weather or some other type of emergency. You may or may not be able to hear a siren from within your home, especially when you are sleeping. Also, sirens may become disabled by severe weather.
Sirens are activated primarily by city or county officials. Each city or county can establish its own guidelines for when to activate the siren, such as for severe thunderstorm warnings in addition to tornado warnings. Contact or visit the website of your city or county emergency management for outdoor siren policy.
On average there are 47 deaths each year in the United States resulting from lightning strikes. If you are outside and can hear thunder, you are in danger of being struck!
Lightning can strike as far as 15 miles from any rain falling with the thunderstorm.
The Deadly Danger Of Lightning!
Flash Flooding 5
“North Dakota Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week: Monday”, National Weather Service, accessed April 23 2021, https://www.weather.gov/bis/nd_summer_awareness_1. ↩︎
“North Dakota Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week: Tuesday”, National Weather Service, accessed April 23 2021, https://www.weather.gov/bis/nd_summer_2. ↩︎
“North Dakota Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week: Wednesday”, National Weather Service, accessed April 23 2021, https://www.weather.gov/bis/nd_summer_3. ↩︎
“North Dakota Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week: Thursday”, National Weather Service, accessed April 23 2021, https://www.weather.gov/bis/nd_summer_4. ↩︎
“North Dakota Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week: Friday”, National Weather Service, accessed April 23 2021, https://www.weather.gov/bis/nd_summer_5. ↩︎