Short You Tube video "Staying Aware of the Severe Weather Threat".
Ready, Set, Go: This is the mindset we want people to be in when it comes to being prepared
for hazardous weather.
Ready: At this stage, the National Weather Service sees something on the horizon that may end up
being a widespread severe weather event in the future. The Hazardous Weather Outlook issued
by the local NWS offices will give you this
information. Also, the Storm Prediction Center
issues thunderstorm outlooks that give an idea of where severe thunderstorms may develop in the next 8 days.
Set: In this stage, we are confident that a hazardous weather event will occur, but are not sure of the
exact timing, location, or impact of the event. For severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, a Watch is
issued to give the public a heads up that they need to be prepared for the possibility of severe
weather within the next 8 hours.
Go: When we hit this stage, we are confident that a thunderstorm is producing severe weather and we
issue a Warning. The lead time can be just precious minutes out to an hour. At this stage, you
should take action by seeking shelter.
Funnel Cloud: A funnel-shaped cloud, extended outward or downward from a thunderstorm,
that corresponds to a rotating column of air. If the rotation is violent and
reaches the ground, the funnel cloud is associated with a tornado.
Tornado: A violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground, that extends from the
base of a thunderstorm to the ground. This is often visible as a funnel cloud with swirling
dust or debris near the surface.
Severe Thunderstorm: A thunderstorm that produces hail of 1 inch or larger (quarter size) and/or a
wind gust to 58 mph or higher.
Microburst: A convective downdraft with an affected outflow area of less than 2.5 miles wide and peak
winds lasting less than 5 minutes. Microbursts may induce dangerous horizontal/vertical wind
shears, which can adversely affect aircraft performance and cause property damage.
Straight-line Winds: Generally, any wind that is not associated with rotation, used mainly to
differentiate them from tornadic winds.
Flash Flood: A sudden inundation of water in low-lying areas, usually brought on by heavy rain,
dam break, rapid snowmelt or ice jams.
Watch: The potential exists for severe weather to occur within the next 8 hours but the exact
location and timing is not known. Action can be taken to protect property such as putting your
vehicle in the garage, putting away patio furniture, etc.
Warning: Severe weather either is occurring or will be shortly. Immediate action should be taken to
protect yourself by going to the lowest portion of a sturdy building, or into a closet, hallway
or room without windows.
Photo Courtesy of Sean Heavey - West of Glasgow, July 28, 2010.