Severe Weather Awareness, Lightning and Hail
Tuesday's focus during Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota is on lightning and hail. Severe thunderstorms produce large hail or winds of at least 58 miles per hour. Some wind gusts can exceed 100 miles per hour and produce tornado-like damage.
During our severe weather awareness special AM Minnesota program Monday with the local emergency management professionals it was noted the sirens will go off in Rice County when wind gusts of 70 mph or better have been clocked in a severe thunderstorm. Each county has different criteria for when they set off their notification sirens.
For example in Dakota County the sirens are set off whenever there is a severe thunderstorm warning.
Hail causes a billion dollars in damage to property every year in the United States and can pose a safety issue for individuals caught in a large hail storm like the once experienced in Northfield just over a decade ago.
All thunderstorms produce lightning and on average lightning kills about 100 people a year in this country.
When I was in the Fort Myers, Florida area during holy week I visited a few parks and noticed large signs in the park with the message, "When Thunder Roars Go Indoors" for lightning safety. They really take the lightning message seriously there and we should take heed here also because lightning can kill.