happy severe weather awareness week!
i grew up in a home with an ex-meteorology major mother who taught me to have a very healthy appreciation for (and fear of) severe weather. i'm utterly fascinated by clouds (to the point where my friends are bored with me talking about how cool they look) and could watch you tube or storm chasers tornado videos for hours. i think, that while tornadoes are scary and destructive, they're also insanely awesome. it's amazing to me that a cloud can even do that. anyway, in honor of this week, here are a few be-smart storm tips my mom has taught me over the years:
1. lighting can jump out of a storm cloud up to fifteen miles. meaning if you can hear thunder (even if it's far away), you're at risk to be struck by lightning. don't be one of those people that stays in a pool/outside while it's thundering just because the storm is "not that close". is it really worth the risk? i'm pretty sure being struck by lightning isn't fun. (note: i do not endorse what girl is doing in the top photograph. consider it a very aesthetically pleasing what-not-to-do.)
2. there is no such thing as heat lightning. if there is lightning, there is a storm, the sound waves have just dissipated by the time the light waves reach you.
3. if you are in a car, don't ever try to outrun a tornado. you will not win. you're a lot better off (as crazy as it seems) getting out of your car and lying in a ditch or under an overpass. this, however, is a lot easier said than done. my little tornado run-in last spring (minor, but so scary) had me paralyzed with fear in my car on the interstate. obviously, i survived, but in retrospect, maybe not the smartest. i'm really glad i didn't die in spencer, nc. what an awful place to spend your last few moments.
4. tornadoes typically don't occur during the worst part of a storm. the "hook" part of a cloud from which they form is usually on the tail-end of a storm. you know that phrase "the calm before the storm"? there's a reason it exists. tornadoes usually occur once the rain/thunder have dissipated. if everything is calm and it suddenly starts hailing, you probably want to head for the basement.
5. if a road has more than a few inches or so of standing water, do not try to drive through it. i don't think drowning in my car sounds like fun, either. moving water is much more powerful than we think - you can be swept away in three inches of water in an instant. find a detour.
now that we're all safe, i'm very much looking forward to the forecasted storms we'll hopefully be getting this evening. what a great way to kick off severe weather awareness week! hanging out at home with the windows open during a storm is just about the most blissful thing ever.
images: 1.geekdick.tumblr.com 2.reuters.com 3.walllake.com 4.personal.psu.edu 5.surfer'svillage.com 6.jason york via goodfinancialclients.com