Our area is prone to thunderstorms, especially during hot summer afternoons. Thunderstorms can spawn lightning strikes and heavy rains that lead to flooding. At signs of an impending storm, high towering thunderheads, dark skies, lightning, increased wind…tune in your local radio or television station for the latest weather information to stay informed.
Thunderstorms can occur anywhere in the world and at any time of the day. All thunderstorms produce lightning and thunder. Some have the potential to produce damaging straight-line winds, large hail, heavy rain, flooding, and tornadoes.
Floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, wind storms or lightning. About 60% of all flood deaths are people in vehicles that moving water sweeps away. If you drive into seemingly shallow water, you could land your car or truck in water two or three feet deep, which is enough to float a car away. The graphic above shows how this can lead to a car or truck being tossed into a ditch, most times drowning its passengers if they haven’t already fled.
Experts advise you not to drive or wade into flood water at all, especially if you can’t see the bottom. Water over a road, no matter how deep, can hide washed-out pavement. As little as six inches of moving water is enough to float a small car and carry it away. Flowing water can be deceptively strong, packing a significant punch no one expects: Fresh water moving at only 4 mph, a brisk walking pace, exerts a force of about 66 pounds on each square foot of anything it encounters; Double the water speed to 8 mph and the force zooms to about 264 pounds per square foot. That’s enough force to punch a car or light truck off a flooded road if the water’s up to door level. Imagine what it would do to a person!
Click the image to learn more about “Turn Around Don’t Drown” from the National Weather Service.
During every minute of every day, roughly 1,800 thunderstorms are creating lightning somewhere on Earth. Though the chances of being struck by lightning are estimated at 1 in 700,000, these huge electrical sparks are one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the USA each year with an average of 73 people killed; about 300 people usually are injured by lightning.
Lightning is an electrical discharge, a giant spark of electricity, from mature storm clouds that can strike with deadly force. A crisp bolt of lightning can easily display its intensity, but the thick clouds of a thunderstorm, with embedded heavy rain squalls, often mask lightning’s danger.
The average lightning strike has a peak electrical current of 30,000 amps. Extreme lightning discharges can reach 10 times that, while some discharges, especially those within a cloud, are only a few thousand amps. In terms more people are familiar with, the electricity flowing within a lightning bolt can reach 200 million volts. Combined with the high amperage, lightning has enough energy to kill instantly.
How to Prepare for Floods & Heavy Rains…
Floods and heavy rain occurs often in Louisiana. Check out some important preparedness tips below.
Thunderstorms & Lightning DOs …
Thunderstorms & Lightning DON’Ts…