Severe Weather Help

In Southeast Texas, we are exposed to a variety of weather conditions. It is important to be aware of weather conditions and how they may affect our activities. If severe weather effects our area, weather advisories from the National Weather Service are issued. Taking appropriate action to the alerts are of utmost importance.

Safe Shelter – Generally, a safe shelter is on that is fully enclosed and has wiring and plumbing.  A safe vehicle is a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal topped roof.

Unsafe Shelter – Examples include car ports, covered patios, picnic shelters, golf shelters, baseball dugouts, convertibles, and golf carts.

These storms can be very small in size but have the potential to create serious damage and be a significant threat to life. Flash flooding, lightning, and hail are often associated with these storms.

Characteristics

  • Small area/diameter (average 15 miles)
  • Possible large hail approximately ¾ inch (can range from size of pea to baseball or softball size)
  • Strong winds (gust can be over 50 mph)
  • Downburst or straight line winds – (over 100 mph)
  • Frequent lightning strikes
  • Heavy rain and possible flooding

Actions

  • Seek safe shelter
  • Avoid using telephone or appliances
  • Avoid using running water (pipes and plumbing may conduct electricity)

    These storms can be very small in size but have the potential to create serious damage and be a significant threat to life. Flash flooding, lightning, and hail are often associated with these storms.

    Characteristics

    • Small area/diameter (average 15 miles)
    • Possible large hail approximately ¾ inch (can range from size of pea to baseball or softball size)
    • Strong winds (gust can be over 50 mph)
    • Downburst or straight line winds – (over 100 mph)
    • Frequent lightning strikes
    • Heavy rain and possible flooding

    Actions

    • Seek safe shelter
    • Avoid using telephone or appliances
    • Avoid using running water (pipes and plumbing may conduct electricity)

Lightning kills more than 70 people per year and injures more than 300. It also causes millions of dollars in damage. According to the National Weather Service, there are an estimated 25 million lightning strikes each year in the United States.

Actions

Seek Safe Shelter – There are no safe outdoor places when lightning strikes. Use the 30/30 rule…. When you see lightning, count the seconds till you hear thunder. If it is 30 seconds or less, seek shelter. Stay in a shelter for 30 minutes past the last clap of thunder.

Facts

  • Lightning can strike miles in front of the leading cloud edge
  • If you can hear thunder, you are in danger.
  • Lightning can strike if it is not raining
  • Lightning can strike in the same place twice

Tornados are some of nature's most violent storms. The path of a tornado can be several feet to more than one mile, and winds can reach speeds of 250-300 mph. Each year, more than 800 tornados are reported. Tornadoes are associated with thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

Characteristics

  • Associated with thunderstorms
  • Dark often greenish clouds
  • Typically has a funnel-shaped column
  • Sound is often associated with the roar of a freight train

Actions

  • Seek safe shelter
  • Stay away from windows – move to interior of building
  • If caught outdoors - lay down in low lying area (ditch or depression)
  • Do not seek shelter under an overpass or bridge
  • If in your car, shelter in the closest safe shelter, your car is not safe.

Severe thunderstorms often produce hail. These lumps of ice can be ball-shaped or irregular in shape. Hailstones vary in size. They can be as small as a pea or large as a softball. When they fall, they can have speeds of over 100 mph.

Characteristics

  • Often associated with thunderstorms
  • Can vary in size
  • Can cause considerable property damage
  • Can cause severe bodily injury

Actions

  • Seek shelter immediately
  • Listen for weather updates on current status and conditions.

Winter storms are often associated with large snow events. Ice events are also associated with these storms and pose a threat to southeast Texas. Snow accumulation is not common, but ice and cold temperature do threaten our area. Frostbite and hypothermia injuries are common. Many vehicle crashes are a direct result of icy roads.

Characteristics

  • Freezing temperatures
  • High winds – wind chill
  • Sleet, snow, and ice accumulations
  • Dangerous slick roads, and walkways
  • Conditions can last for several hours to days

Actions

  • Dress in layers, in warm clothing
  • Do not travel unless absolutely necessary
  • Protect pipes, pets, plants
  • Keep water, food, flashlight, and radio available
  • Keep cell phones charged
  • Never use grill or charcoal-burning devices at home to keep warm