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Severe Weather Precautions – Thunderstorms

It’s That Time of Year!

Thunderstorms are most likely to occur during the spring and summer and in the afternoon hours. We are well into the season in the U.S. so I wanted to provide a refresher on thunderstorm basics compliments of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, a division of NOAA.


A thunderstorm is a rain shower where you hear thunder. Since thunder comes from lightning, they all contain lightning.

A thunderstorm is classified as SEVERE if it contains any of these:

  • Hail 1”+ in diameter
  • Wind Gusts up to 50 knots (57.5 mph)
  • A Tornado

A Warning vs. A Watch

Preparation varies for “warnings” versus “watches”. So what’s the difference and why does it matter? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA has meteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 across the entire U.S. for conditions that are favorable for severe thunderstorms.  They issue the different storm classifications.

A Watch – This means be on the look out and prepare for a bad storm and stay tuned for further information. A watch can cover a small area or several states. Your local radio and television can keep you up to date.

A Warning – This means there is a serious threat to life and property in the path of the storm. ACT NOW to find shelter! Different from a watch, a warning is issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters (real people) or indicated by radar.

A watch tends to be by state or area while a warning can cover parts of counties or several counties in the path of danger.

If you have children afraid of storms, this little booklet Billy, Maria and the Thunderstorm might help calm their fears. It also shows how to prepare for a pending storm. Another resource from the American Red Cross is this little Disney book, Disaster Preparedness Activity Book that touches on all kinds of disasters. I don’t know the ages but this book appears to be for older children so check them out and see what’s right for your family.

Until Next Time!

About the Author:  Michele Redmon is the owner of I.C.O.E. Bracelets. She loves the peace of mind these bracelets provide to parents, grandparents and children. With customer service a priority, she loves talking to her customers so drop her a line at