An updated severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the NWS Fort Worth TX Sunday at 9:01 p.m. The storms may bring quarter-sized hail (1 inch).
"At 9:01 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located over Desoto, moving southeast at 20 mph," states the NWS. "Damage to vehicles is possible."
The warning is for Dallas, Irving, Grand Prairie, Desoto, Cedar Hill, Duncanville, Lancaster, Glenn Heights, Red Oak, Hutchins, Cockrell Hill, Wilmer, Ovilla, Cedar Hill State Park, Joe Pool Lake, Mountain Creek Lake and Sand Branch.
This warning is in effect until 9:15 p.m.
How to react when facing a lightning hazard?
Around 25 million lightning strikes occur in the United States every year, with most taking place during the summer months. The National Weather Service reports that these strikes result in about 20 fatalities annually. The probability of lightning strikes rises as a thunderstorm approaches and peaks when the storm is directly above. As the storm moves away, this likelihood decreases.
Here are tips on how to stay safe during a thunderstorm:
• To lower the risk of lightning strikes, when going outdoors, develop a plan to reach a safer spot.
• If the sky becomes menacing and thunder becomes audible, seek out a safe place to seek shelter.
• Once indoors, avoid touching corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, and windows and doors.
• Wait for 30 minutes after the most recent lightning or thunder before venturing outside.
If finding indoor shelter is not an option:
• Steer clear of open fields, hilltops, or ridge tops.
• Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
• If you are with a group, fan out to stop the current from transmitting between members.
• If you are camping in an open space, choose a valley, ravine, or low area for your campsite. Remember, tents do not shield you from lightning.
• Maintain a safe distance from water, wet items, and metal objects. Water and metal do not attract lightning, yet they conduct electricity efficiently.
What to do in the rain on the road?
• Turn on headlights — Even in daylight, using headlights can help improve visibility and let other drivers know where you are.
• While driving — Stick to the middle lanes and stay on elevated ground. Rainwater tends to accumulate at the road edges.
• Keep clear of puddles — Driving through puddles or low rainwater areas can cause vehicles to hydroplane or skid out of control
• Do not follow large vehicles closely — Large vehicles like trucks or buses can create a spray of water that can reduce your visibility.
• Steer clear of flooded areas — When coming to a flooded road, turn around and head back. Flash flooding currents are strong and can sweep drivers off roadways. Driving through deep water can also affect a vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle begins to slide uncontrollably on wet roads.
This happens when water in front of the tire builds up faster than the vehicle’s weight can push water out of the way. The water pressure then causes the vehicle to rise and slide on a thin layer of water between the tires and the road, making the driver lose control. The top three contributors to hydroplaning are:
1. Vehicle speed — When a vehicle’s speed increases, the tire-traction grip and ability to control the vehicle decreases. Drive at a reduced speed during wet weather.
2. Water depth — The deeper the water, the sooner a vehicle loses traction on the road. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is, even a thin layer can lead to hydroplaning.
3. Tire tread depth — Checking your tire tread before hitting the road is important, as low or no tread can lead to sliding.
In the event of your vehicle hydroplaning, here’s what to know:
• Ease off the accelerator — Step off the gas to slow down the vehicle until the tires find traction.
• Turn into the skid — Turning into the skid can help the vehicle’s tires realign to regain control.
• Make sure the tires reconnect with the road — During the skid, wait until the tires reconnect with the road and then gently straighten the wheels to regain control.
• Brake gently as needed — Brake normally if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes and pump brakes gently if in an older vehicle.
Source: The National Weather Service
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