Damaging winds expected with thunderstorms to hit Limestone and Madison counties Tuesday

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On Tuesday at 5:44 p.m. the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning in effect until 6:30 p.m. for Limestone and Madison counties.

Residents should prepare for wind gusts of up to 60 mph.

“At 5:43 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Tanner, or 7 miles west of Athens, moving northeast at 35 mph,” states the weather service. “Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.”

The warning is for Huntsville, Madison, Athens, Redstone Arsenal, University Of Alabama In Huntsville, Harvest, Tanner, French Mill, Coxey and Elkwood.

The weather service states, “Remain alert for a possible tornado! Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. If you spot a tornado go at once into the basement or small central room in a sturdy structure. For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building. A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 9 p.m. for north central and northwestern Alabama and Middle Tennessee.”

When lightning looms: Expert safety tips for thunderstorms

Each year, lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times, with the majority of these electrifying events occurring during the summer months. Unfortunately, lightning is responsible for claiming the lives of approximately 20 people annually, as reported by the weather service. The threat of lightning becomes more pronounced as thunderstorms draw nearer, peaking when the storm is directly overhead and gradually waning as it moves away.

To guarantee your safety in the midst of a thunderstorm, take into account the following recommendations:

1. Lightning safety plan:

  • When venturing outdoors, it’s vital to establish a clear plan for seeking shelter in case of lightning.
  • Monitor the sky for threatening signs and listen for the sound of thunder. If thunder is audible, it’s an indication that lightning is nearby.
  • Seek shelter promptly in a safe location, preferably indoors.

2. Indoors safety measures:

  • Once you’re indoors, avoid using corded phones, electrical devices, plumbing fixtures, and stay away from windows and doors.
  • These precautions help reduce the risk of electrical surges, as lightning can follow conductive pathways.

3. Wait for the all-clear:

  • After the last lightning strike or thunderclap, wait at least 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activities.
  • Lightning can strike even when a storm has seemingly passed, so exercise caution.

When indoor shelter isn’t available:

If you find yourself outdoors with no access to indoor shelter during a thunderstorm, take these steps to maximize your safety:

  • Avoid open fields, hilltops, or ridge crests, which expose you to greater lightning risk.
  • Steer clear of tall, isolated trees and other prominent objects. In wooded areas, stay close to lower stands of trees.
  • If you’re in a group, ensure that individuals are spaced out to prevent lightning current from transferring between people.
  • Camping in an open setting during a thunderstorm is strongly discouraged. If no alternative exists, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low-lying areas. Remember that a tent offers no protection against lightning.
  • Do not approach water bodies, wet objects, or metal items. While water and metal don’t attract lightning, they conduct electricity effectively and can pose significant risks.

In summary, when facing the threat of lightning, preparedness and vigilance are your best allies. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of lightning-related incidents and prioritize your safety.

Driving through downpours: Safety guidelines for wet roads

When heavy rain pours, the risk of flooding and treacherous roads rises. Here’s your guide from the weather service to staying safe during downpours:

Beware of rapid water flow:

  • Avoid parking or walking in close proximity to culverts or drainage ditches, as the swiftly moving water during heavy rain can potentially carry you away.

Maintain safe driving distances:

  • Use the two-second rule to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you and allow an extra two seconds in heavy rain.

Reduce speed and drive cautiously:

  • On wet roads, reducing your speed is crucial. Ease off the gas pedal gradually and avoid abrupt braking to prevent skidding.

Choose your lane wisely:

  • Stay toward the middle lanes – water tends to pool in the outside lanes.

Visibility matters:

  • Enhance your visibility in heavy rain by turning on your headlights. Watch out for vehicles in blind spots, as rain-smeared windows can obscure them.

Watch out for slippery roads:

  • Be extra careful during the first half hour after rain begins. Grime and oil on the road surface mix with water to make the road slippery.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

  • Don’t follow large trucks or buses too closely. The spray created by their large tires reduces your vision. Take care when passing them as well; if you must pass, do so quickly and safely.

Mind your windshield wipers:

  • Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas.
  • If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guard rail, and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers of your position.

By following these safety measures, you can significantly reduce risks and ensure your well-being when heavy rain pours down. Stay informed about weather conditions and heed advice from local authorities to make your journey safe and sound.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.

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