PINE BELT (WDAM) - Fall Severe Weather Preparedness week rolls on, and today is Severe Thunderstorm Day.
Look, we all know about how bad the weather can get in Mississippi. The flooding, the wind, the ice storms, the tornadoes, and the occasional snow keep us all on our toes. Well, except maybe the ice and snow, it is best to walk flat-footed then.
The most common threat we face comes from thunderstorms. We can get them any time of the year.
A thunderstorm in Mississippi can put a wrinkle in your plans, but when the National Weather Service says a storm is Severe, it is time to take action.
A severe thunderstorm is a storm with one-inch hail - or about the size of a quarter -, wind to at least 58 miles per hour, or a storm with the possibility of a tornado.
Wait a second, what about lightning and heavy rain, you ask? Those are not criteria for determining if a storm is severe.
And while those baseline qualifications for hail and wind sound rough, severe storms in Mississippi can have winds up to 100mph, baseball-sized hail. And can actually do more damage than a tornado.
That is why the NWS stresses taking Severe Thunderstorm Warnings seriously.
While it might seem like Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are a dime-a-dozen, for all the storms we get, only about 10-percent are severe.
What months are they most likely? between November and May.
So what's the difference between when a Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued for your area versus a Severe Thunderstorm Warning?
A WATCH means there is potential for the development of severe thunderstorms near you.
A WARNING means severe weather is happening near you. And it is time to do something about it.
Staying weather aware is essential to staying safe.
Everyone should take outlooks, watches and warnings seriously, have multiple ways of receiving warnings, and have a shelter plan in place ahead of time.
Because with our weather, frankly, it could save your life.
Coming up tomorrow, we will be talking about tornadoes.