Severe Weather Awareness Week: Do you know what to put in your safety kit?


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – 332 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued by Springfield’s National Weather Service last year, and we’ve actually had 15 warnings already in 2019. These storms are not only dangerous, but common in the Ozarks.

These severe thunderstorms can pack winds in excess of 60 mph, tearing up trees, peeling away roofs, and knocking out power. Damage can be widespread and often, just as destructive as a weak tornado.

A severe thunderstorm is a thunderstorm that has or is capable of producing hail 1″ or greater in diameter, wind gusts to 58 mph or greater, or the threat of a tornado. All thunderstorms have lightning! Lightning alone does not make them severe. 

When forecasting for severe weather you’ll often see us use an outlook that looks like this! This is called a convective outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. Know your risk — it can range from Thunder, Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, Moderate, to High. The difference in each level is increasing number and intensity of storms.

Marginal means isolated severe storms are possible, Slight means a few severe storms possible — an isolated intense one possible. Enhanced means more numerous, more persistent and widespread severe storms are likely. Moderate and High are very serious risks — severe storms are not only likely to expected, but they could be particularly strong and intense. 

We measure hail by comparing it to known objects like quarters, golf balls, and baseballs, and grapefruits. You never want to report it as marble size because marbles can be many sizes!! Hail can hurt people, cars, and crops. It can also fly through windows, so stay away from windows in a hail storm! 

When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, seek shelter inside, away from windows. Evacuate mobile homes. 

During the clean-up when power lines are down…stay away! Be at least 30 feet away from downed power lines. Never touch them, always assume they are energized! Don’t move them!

Today you can pack a severe weather safety kit and put it in your basement or storm shelter or closet, wherever you would seek shelter.

It should include:

-First aid kit
-Phone, charger
-Non-perishable food
-Whistle to signal help
-Baby formula, pet supplies, cash
-Books, games, clothes


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