A report from the NWS Fort Worth TX on Sunday at 5:47 p.m. is warning residents of strong thunderstorms. Expect nickel-sized hail (0.88 inches) and wind gusts of up to 30 mph.
"At 5:47 p.m., Doppler radar tracked a strong thunderstorm over Fort Worth, moving east at 15 mph," says the NWS. "Gusty winds could knock down tree limbs and blow around unsecured objects. Minor damage to outdoor objects is possible."
The warning is for Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, Euless, Haltom City, Hurst, Saginaw, Forest Hill, Richland Hills, Kennedale, Everman, Rendon, North Richland Hills, Edgecliff Village, Pantego, Edgecliff, Dalworthington Gardens, Lake Arlington and Joe Pool Lake.
According to the NWS, "If outdoors, consider seeking shelter inside a building. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect until 11 p.m. for north central Texas."
This warning is in effect until 6:30 p.m.
What to do as threat of lightning approaches?
Lightning hits the United States approximately 25 million times annually. The majority of these strikes happen during the summer, causing around 20 fatalities each year, according to the National Weather Service. The likelihood of lightning increases as a thunderstorm gets closer and reaches its highest point when the storm is directly overhead. This risk decreases as the storm moves away.
Here are suggestions for staying 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 grows ominous and you hear thunder, seek out a safe place to take shelter.
• Once inside, avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, and windows and doors.
• Wait for 30 minutes after the final lightning or thunder before heading outside again.
If finding indoor shelter is not an option:
• Stay away from open fields, hill summits, or ridge tops.
• Keep a distance from tall, isolated trees or other elevated objects. If in a forest, stay close to lower trees.
• If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.
• If you are camping in an open setting, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low spot. Bear in mind, a tent does not protect 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?
• Switch on headlights — Even during daylight hours, using headlights can enhance visibility and signal your presence to other drivers.
• 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
• Give ample space to large vehicles — Trucks or buses can create a water spray that diminishes 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 happens when a vehicle starts sliding 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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