POSTED: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 1:17pm
BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC33) — Louisiana's "Severe Weather Awareness Week" is this week, February 17-21. The National Weather Service in New Orleans will choose a topic to focus on and prepare you for any upcoming severe weather that heads toward south Louisiana.
Today's topic is "Severe Thunderstorms."
Severe thunderstorms, as defined by the NWS, must meet certain guidelines before the are named "severe." Thunder and lightning and gusty winds do not automatically classify a thunderstorm as a severe thunderstorm. They must have winds greater than 58 mph and/or hail larger than 1.0 inch.
Straight-line winds are the most common cause severe thunderstorm-related property damage. The strong push of air out of the thunderstorm can cause winds to gust in excess of 100 mph. Damage from straight-line winds are often mistaken for tornado damage. Although, it is understandable when weak tornadoes, EF 0, can spin winds from 45-78 mph.
Hail larger than one inch can cause significant damage, too. It is not common, but it can form in south Louisiana.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma focuses on forecasting for these severe weather events. By working with them and NWS offices, our Stormtracker33 weather team is able to give advanced information up to seven days for the possibility of seeing severe thunderstorms.
Check the latest forecast at www.nbc33tv.com/weather .
Click here  to see yesterday's topic "Have a plan."
Follow Meteorologist Kyle Myers at www.facebook.com/weathermanmyers .