Severe Weather Awareness Week – 1

We are under a 4WARN Weather Alert tomorrow for the possibility of strong to severe thunderstorms tomorrow.  Damaging Winds will be the greatest threat.  A front is forming in the plains state and another disturbance in the atmosphere in the northern Rockies will create the right conditions for a line of thunderstorms to develop.  This does not look like a widespread severe outbreak, but there could be some isolated severe storms here in Middle Tennessee. The greatest threat will be farther south.


The timing will be late morning to early afternoon.


This week just happens to be Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee.  It’s a great time to go over some of the things that will likely occur during the days, weeks and months ahead.  Spring is considered the peak severe weather season in our state.  We have more severe thunderstorms in March, April and May than any other time of the year.

LS thunderstorm 1

The two terms you’ll hear when severe weather threatens are “watch” and “warning”.


A watch means conditions are right for severe thunderstorms to develop in and around the watch area.  A watch is issued for a large area and is in effect for a several hours.  When a watch is issued, it’s time to be weather aware.

A warning means a severe thunderstorm is happening now.  A warning is issued for a small area and is in effect for 30 to 45 minutes.  When a warning is issued, it’s time to take action, shelter until the storm has passed.

LS watch_warning

A severe thunderstorm is defined as a thunderstorm that produces hail of one inch in diameter or larger and/or damaging wind gust of 58 mph or higher.

LS Quarter size hail

Of course if a thunderstorm produces a tornado it is a severe storm, but at that point a tornado warning would be issued.  Interesting to note that only a small fraction of severe thunderstorms produce tornadoes.  All thunderstorms are capable of creating dangerous lightning.  But lightning and even heavy rain produced by thunderstorms are not used to classify a thunderstorms as severe.

So what should you do if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued?

  1. Go to a sturdy building to protect you from the wind and hail.
  2. Avoid electrical appliances and telephones.
  3. Park your car in the garage if you have one.
  4. Secure loose outdoor objects.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, the blog focus will be lightning.

Join me tonight on Channel 4 News at 10 pm for an update on tomorrow’s potential for thunderstorms.

Lisa Spencer

posted 9:40pm 2/29


About Lisa Spencer

Lisa Spencer is the chief meteorologist at WSMV Channel 4 Nashville. You can catch her weathercasts weekdays at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 6:30pm and 10pm.
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1 Response to Severe Weather Awareness Week – 1

  1. Pingback: Severe Weather Awareness Week-2 | 4WARN Weather Blog

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