Storm Basics 101
Watch vs. Warning
A severe thunderstorm watch means that the potential exists for the development of thunderstorms which may produce large hail or damaging winds. A watch is issued by the SPC (Storm Prediction Center).
A severe thunderstorm warning means that a severe thunderstorm is occurring or is imminent based on Doppler radar information or a reliable spotter report. A warning is issued by the local National Weather Service office.
Watch vs. Warning and Storm Basics are provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). For more information visit their website: www.noaa.gov
A thunderstorm is a rain shower which you hear thunder. Since thunder comes from lightning, all thunderstorms have lightning.
A thunderstorm is classified as "severe" when it contains one or more of the following:
- Hail (One inch or greater)
- Winds in excess of 58 mph
- Structural wind damage
Tornadoes are arguably nature’s most violent storms. Generated from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes generally appear as rotating, funnel-shaped clouds extending from the cloud base to the ground. With winds that can reach up to 300 miles per hour, tornadoes can cause massive destruction within seconds. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and fifty miles long.
- The average tornado moves southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
- The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 miles per hour, but may vary from stationary to 70 miles per hour.
- Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
- Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
- Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Before the Storm
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency supply kit and make a family communication plan.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Postpone outdoor activities. n Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
During the Storm
- Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
- Avoid contact with corded phones. Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
- Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
- Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
After the Storm
- Never drive through a flooded roadway.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately. n Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
- If you have storm damage to your home or property, call SERVPRO of Farmington. Timely mitigation is key to minimize secondary damages caused by severe storms.
SERVPRO of Farmington Services
Unexpected emergencies like severe weather call for immediate action. SERVPRO of Farmington knows immediate reaction to the disaster is important to helping you get your life back to normal.
Utilizing our 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines*, SERVPRO of Farmington strives to:
- Contact you within 1 hour from notice of loss to arrange for service.
- Be on-site to begin mitigation services within 4 hours of notification.
- Provide verbal briefing of scope to you within 8 business hours of on-site arrival.
SERVPRO of Farmington can also perform pack-out services, which is removing salvageable personal property from the affected area for off-site cleaning and storage.
*Exceptions may apply under certain conditions, such as a local catastrophic event or storm situation.