Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week is this week with snow in the forecast for Tornado Drill Day on Thursday.

Rice County Emergency Management Deputy Director John Rowan said during our Severe Weather Awarenss Show last week the changing of the seasons are what concerns him most.

The vast temperature changes from winter to spring and summer to fall provide the fuel for some very severe weather.

The St. Peter tornado happened in late March 1998.  The Faribault tornadoes of 2018 occurred in late September. To emphasize his point.

Today's topic includes information about severe thunderstorm winds, lightning and hail.

According to information from Minnesota Homeland Security Emergency Management thunderstorms affect a relatively small area compared with most other storms.

The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts for 30 minutes.  No matter the size all thunderstorms are dangerous.

Severe thunderstorms produce large hail or winds of at least 58 mph.  Some wind gusts can exceed a small tornado (over 100 mph) and produce extensive damage.

Straight-line winds can exceed 125 mph which is why many communities do sound the outdoor sirens for damaging straight-line winds.

When a severe thunderstorm threatens, stay inside a strong structure.  Mobile home occupants should go to a more permanent structure.

In Faribault each of the mobile home courts have a designated shelter where their residents are supposed to go when severe weather strikes.

Hail causes over a billion dollars in damage every year.

Most hail is about pea-sized.  Although reports of baseball or grapefruit-size hail have occurred in Minnesota.

The large hail stones can fall faster than 100 mph and have been known to kill people.

Every thunderstorm produces lightning which kills an average of 43 Americans every year.  Hundreds more are severely injured.

Here are some lightning safety tips from Minnesota HSEM:

  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter, a substantial building or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Indoor lightning safety tips from Minnesota HSEM:

  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby these actions might lessen your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
  • Never lie flat on the ground.
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree.
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

A reminder to sign up for your community or county emergency notification system.  Links are included to them below.

Rice, LeSueur, Steele, Dakota Counties use Everbridge.

Goodhue, Waseca, Scott, Dodge, Wabasha Counties use CodeRed.

This is amazing information concerning weather disasters.

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