Storm Ready: What terms you need to know - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Storm Ready: What terms you need to know

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The return of spring and summer signal the start of severe weather season. Meteorologists will track increasing heat, humidity, wind shear; and the fronts, and other triggers in the atmosphere that come together to build towering, potentially dangerous thunderstorms.
 
To help keep you safe, here are some terms you should know:
 
The National Weather Service will put out Hazardous Weather Outlooks a few days in advance, giving out a slight, moderate, or high risk. You should take note and watch the forecasts.
 
Once the conditions for severe weather are in place, usually a few hours before; The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK will issue either a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or a Tornado Watch, for a region or a state.

Typically, they are in effect for a six hour period, or until expired after the threat has passed. Go on about your business, but be alert for rapidly developing storms with large hail, damaging winds or, more rarely, tornadoes. Then local NWS offices monitor and issue warnings.
 
A severe thunderstorm warning is issued if a thunderstorm is imminent or radar is indicating a storm is producing hail 1” or larger, damaging wind gusts 58 mph or greater, perhaps even a tornado with little warning.
 
A Tornado warning is issued if a tornado or funnel cloud is spotted or if radar strongly indicates one.
 
These types of warnings are issued for 30 to 60 minutes for a county or parts of a county. That is the time to act to stay safe! Get to know beforehand what you should do in different circumstances.
 
For instance, If you are driving a vehicle when a severe thunderstorm or tornado closely approaches, don’t try to outrun it, seek sturdy shelter. if none is around, get into a low spot and crouch down and protect your head. If it’s some distance away and safe to do so, drive away from it.

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