PINE BELT (WDAM) - This week is spring severe weather awareness week across Mississippi. It is a combined effort between the National Weather Service and the Mississippi EMA to educate and provide life-saving information as we move into the next season.
Here are some helpful tips to remember as we move into our spring severe season.
The difference between a watch and warning.
WATCH: Issued before the event happens. Means conditions are favorable.
WARNING: Issued when the event is happening. Conditions are occurring now or within the next few minutes. Seek shelter now!
Seek shelter immediately in the lowest level of your home or in an interior room away from windows or exterior walls. You should protect your head from flying debris with a helmet, pillows, blankets or a mattress.
Move to higher ground. Try not to walk though flood waters, you do not know what's in them. Snakes, nails, live power lines and underlying currents can hurt you. If you are in a car, turn around, don't drown.
One foot of water can lift/displace 1,500 pounds, which is the weight of an average car. Two feet of water can float trucks and SUVs. Six inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
Severe thunderstorms warnings are only issued for storms containing hail 1" or larger and/or winds in excess of 58 mph. Seek shelter in a well-built building and stay away from windows. If you are outdoors, a car will protect you from lightning and large hail. Severe thunderstorms can also produce a tornado in some cases so be on alert.
Lightning is extremely dangerous due to its unpredictable strikes. A Lightning bolt are on average 54,000°F, that is five times hotter than the surface of the sun! It can also strike up to 10 miles away from the center of a storm. A simple rule to remember is "When thunder roars, go indoors."
You should also wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap to return outdoors. You should stay off electrical items during a thunderstorm and NEVER seek shelter under a tree. Buildings with wiring and plumbing or a car will protect you from lightning since they can safely redirect the current around out.