Severe Thunderstorm Stories, And Why You Need A Weather Alert Radio

July 20, 2015, by Ken Jorgustin

severe-storm-wall-cloud
Yesterday’s severe storm wall cloud (one of them)

Yesterday, the alert on my weather radio must have sounded at least six times as one severe thunderstorm after the next drifted across the region. I don’t ever recall experiencing such a long extended period of near constant thunder and lightning – some of which was directly overhead while other times several miles away (but close enough to always be hearing the rumbling or booming thunder and seeing flashes of lightning). The event started around 3:30 in the afternoon and was still ongoing in the vicinity at 7:30. Even when I retired for the night at 11PM there were still flashes and thunder in the not-too-far distance. It even woke me up at around 1:30 in the morning… Unbelievable…

Why am I telling you this?

First of all it was exciting. I am somewhat of a weather enthusiast and appreciate the powerful workings of nature and our atmosphere. But most of all, I would like to stress the importance of having a weather alert radio.

Additionally, I would like to hear any of your stories about an experience with severe weather…


 
Did you know that lightning can strike, even when you think that a given storm is still far away? In fact it is conceivable that you might not even know that there is a threat approaching or that conditions are ripe for severe weather. Obviously a weather alert radio will let you know…

For those who have experienced a ‘real’ severe thunderstorm, you know the difference between that one and a so-called ‘normal’ t-storm. The outflow and inflow winds will become quite intense as the billowing tower of clouds (many miles into the sky) sucks up air into its core while spilling it out elsewhere – sometimes causing very powerful damaging winds or even a tornado. The lightning (and corresponding exploding thunder) becomes intense, as in close and LOUD and frequent. It can be quite unnerving if you’re right in the middle of it. Then there is the VERY heavy rain and/or hail. Yesterday for the first time I experienced a rainfall rate of 12″ per hour! That’s right, twelve inches per hour, although fortunately not for an hour! Within just a few minutes the deluge turned to fast flowing rivers in the driveways and roads. I swear the raindrops were the size of grapes. While we didn’t experience hail in our immediate location (just mega-rain), others nearby experienced golf ball hail.

The reason I say this is in an attempt to point out the potential danger.

TIP: To gauge whether or not a t-storm is getting closer, when you see lightning flash, start counting. Every 5 seconds equals about one mile away.

NOTE: The sound of booming thunder in the mountains is quite unique! …as it echos all over.

There was so much lightning yesterday afternoon, that I was able to capture this photo of a major cloud-to-ground lightning bolt nearby. I captured several others, but this one image came out the best:

cloud-to-ground-lightning

 
Over the years I have written a few articles on the so called ‘best’ weather radios. Consistently the following purpose-built weather radios have remained on top in this category:

Midland WR120EZ

MIDLAND WR300

Sangean CL-100

If you don’t already have one for your own safety, I highly recommend it.

 
Now lets hear some of your own severe weather stories… ?