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SEVERE WEATHER TERMS

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM - A thunderstorm that produces hail of 1 inch or more in diameter, winds of at least 58mph or a tornado.

FUNNEL CLOUD - A funnel shaped cloud, usually extending from a convective cloud, which is associated with a violently rotating column of air that is not in contact with the ground.

TORNADO - A violently rotating column of air that extends from a convective cloud and is in contact with the ground.  The entire column of air associated with a tornado is not always visible.

WATCH - Issued when conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather in and close to the watch area.  During a watch, people should be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

WARNING- Issued when severe weather is detected by radar or reported by storm spotters.  People in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately.  Warnings can be issued without a watch already in effect.

FLASH FLOOD - A rapid rise in water that occurs with little or no advanced warning, usually as the result of intense rainfall over a relatively small area in a short amount of time.

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY TIPS

LIGHTNING SAFETY

An average of 55 people a year are killed in the U.S. as a result of being struck by lightning.  That makes it the second deadliest weather phenomenon after flooding. 

Even if you don’t see lightning, if you can hear thunder, then it’s time to take shelter. Even small thunderstorms can cause fatal strikes. 

To estimate the distance of lightning in miles, count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder, then divide by 5. 

FLASH FLOOD SAFETY

Remember, TURN AROUND – DON’T DROWN.

On average, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard.  The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water.  More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream.  Of these, many are preventable.

DO NOT drive onto a flooded roadway.

DO NOT drive through flowing water. 

TORNADO SAFETY

When a warning is issued, seek shelter immediately.  The best place to be is in a storm shelter or basement, or the interior of a sturdy building away from windows, such as a bathroom or closet. 

If you’re outdoors, seek shelter inside a sturdy structure.  If you have a car, drive away from the storm if you can do so safely (most tornadoes move an average of 35-45 mph). If not, find a low-lying ditch and cover your head. 

If you do not feel safe where you are and you feel the need to drive somewhere for better shelter, it is critical that you do not wait until the last minute to make that decision.  If you wait until the tornado warning is in effect for your location, it is likely too late to make that critical decision.  Be sure that you are not putting yourself in more danger by driving into another storm.  If you choose to leave, be sure to know where you are going before you start your car.  Try to let someone know that you are not at home and where you are going.

Do not assume that public buildings are tornado shelters.  Check with you local community while the sun is still shining and before storms ever develop.

NEVER SEEK SHELTER IN A MOBILE HOME.

NEVER SEEK SHELTER UNDER AN OVERPASS.

ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE

NOAA National Weather Service has implemented an enhanced Fujita Scale which takes into account additional variables to give a more accurate portrayal of tornado strength.

STORM SMARTS 101

• The peak months for tornadoes in Nebraska is May and June, though a tornado has been recorded in every month. 

• Tornadoes can occur anytime of day, but most form during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

SURVIVAL KIT

• Battery-powered radio, flashlight and batteries

• First aid kit, including essential medications

• Special needs for infants, elderly and disabled

• Important papers, extra cash and credit cards

• Bottled water, canned foods with opener

• Protective clothing and rain gear

• Written procedures for shutting off water, gas and electricity

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

UTILITIES (Report downed power lines or power outages)

Hastings                (402)463-1371

Grand Island                (308)385-5461

Kearney                             1-877-275-6773

FEMA Regional Office(816)283-7061

American Red Cross(308)382-3790

Emergency number ONLY911

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Adams County(402)461-2360

(402)461-2361

Hall County(308)385-5360

Buffalo County(308)233-3225

 

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