Stay safe during thunderstorms

Published 4:53 pm Friday, April 26, 2019

Last Friday, April 26, the Western Tidewater region experienced yet another thunderstorm severe enough to warrant emergency notifications being sent to city and county residents, as well as local media. Fortunately, as of the writing of this editorial, there is no tornado watch or warning from the National Weather Service for the Franklin-Southampton-Isle of Wight area, but even without the threat of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms can still be deadly to someone caught outside.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, thunderstorms can produce hail, strong winds, lightning and flooding, as well as tornadoes. NOAA classifies a storm as “severe” when it produces wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour and/or hail one inch in diameter (about the size of a quarter) or larger (which can fall at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour), and/or a tornado. advises those who find themselves in a thunderstorm to get inside as quickly as possible, if this is an option. If not, stay as low to the ground as possible. Avoid tall, isolated trees, bodies of water, fields or the tops of hills. Cars, while not as safe as being inside a building, are better than staying outside. Speaking of cars, NOAA advises motorists traveling through flooded areas to “turn around, don’t drown,” pointing out that even six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult and it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars.

Stay safe, Western Tidewater.