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Specific Severe Weather Threats

Courtesy of Danielle Manning,NWS Slidell Office
Weather Talk

POSTED: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 12:28pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 25, 2011 - 10:10am



(STORMTRACKER33) -- It may come as a surprise that March, April, & May is the peak of severe weather here in Louisiana, but it's true. The severe weather we encounter this type of year is primarily in the form of hail, wind, and tornados. The number one way to protect yourself against any threat is to understand the threat, be prepared and have a plan to protect your home and your family when severe weather threatens. 

The graph above clearly shows that Louisiana can experience severe weather anytime of the year. It's interesting to note that while hurricane season peaks in September, our severe weather threat is actually the lowest then. The first step in preparedness is knowledge. 

So what exactly is "Severe Weather"?

The NWS defines severe weather as the following

1. Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger (quarter-sized or greater)
2. Measured wind gusts greater than 58 MPH (50 knots)
3. Observed wind damage, such as fallen trees, property damage, etc.
4. Tornado - a funnel cloud that contacts the ground
5. Flash flooding or flooding that causes death, injuries, or property damage 

This can seem like a lot of wordy mumbo-jumbo, but it's important that scientists have a way to measure and classify these risks.

So let's go ahead and break down what's really important here.

1. Hail: We often get hail less than 1 inch in diameter, so it's important to realize that this graph only represents the number of occurrences of hail 1 inch or larger. We receive small hail year round as well.

2. Wind Gusts & Tornados. Wind can be very destructive. Straight line winds, like the ones associated with gust fronts are a different threat than tornados, which are rotating winds within a funnel cloud touching the ground. Both are dangerous. 

3. Flash Flooding & Flooding That Causes Death. People can die in high water that is not a "flash flood". Standing, rising, and flooded water ways can all be dangerous. 


Check out specific blogs addressing these threats and how to be prepared to handle anything Mother Nature throws your way in more detail. 

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