COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There is nothing that can be done to prevent severe weather from striking South Carolina, but being aware of the threats posed by thunderstorms, and being prepared to take immediate actions, can save lives.
Forecasters say the greatest threat of severe weather is between March and August (tornado season peaks March through May) and severe thunderstorms can strike any time of the year and any time of the day or night. .
A thunderstorm is formed from a combination of moisture, rapidly rising warm air and a force capable of lifting air such as a warm and cold front, a sea breeze or a mountain.
Thunderstorms may occur singly, in clusters or in lines. Thus, it is possible for several thunderstorms to affect one location in the course of just a few hours. Some of the most severe weather occurs when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared with hurricanes and winter storms, but despite their size, all thunderstorms are dangerous.
Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding. Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some thunderstorms.
Thunderstorms are most likely to occur in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours but they can occur year-round and at all hours of the day or night.
The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are happening at any moment around the world.
Conditions are right for severe thunderstorms to form. When your area is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, continue to stay tuned to WIS News 10 and WIStv.com and use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
A Severe Thunderstorm has been spotted by a trained observer or detected on radar. Take action immediately. A storm is classified severe if it produces hail at least¾- inch in diameter, wind 58 mph or higher, or tornadoes
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers these facts about thunderstorms:
What to Do Before a Thunderstorm
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
Avoid the following:
What to Do During a Thunderstorm
|If you are:||Then:|
|In a forest||Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.|
|In an open area||Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.|
|On open water||Get to land and find shelter immediately.|
|Anywhere you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike)||Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact it the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.|