Update: Thunderstorms with damaging winds and penny-sized hail to hit Central Alabama Tuesday

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On Tuesday at 10:29 p.m. the National Weather Service issued an updated severe thunderstorm warning valid until 11 p.m. for Chilton, Dallas and Perry counties.

Expect penny-sized hail (0.75 inches) and wind gusts of up to 60 mph.

“At 10:28 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Paul M Grist State Park, or 9 miles north of Valley Grande, moving east at 45 mph,” says the weather service. “Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.”

The warning is for Paul M Grist State Park and Plantersville.

The weather service states, “A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 2 a.m. for central and south central Alabama. 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.”

Staying safe as lightning approaches: Expert advice

Lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times each year, with the bulk of these electrical discharges occurring during the summer months. Tragically, lightning claims the lives of about 20 individuals annually, as reported by the weather service. The risk of lightning-related incidents escalates as thunderstorms draw near, reaching its peak when the storm directly looms overhead. However, it gradually recedes as the tempest 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 crucial to have a lightning safety plan in place.
  • 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 a safe place to shelter, preferably indoors.

2. Indoors safety measures:

  • Once you’ve found shelter indoors, abstain from using corded phones, electrical appliances, or plumbing fixtures, and refrain from approaching windows and doors.
  • Lightning can follow conductive pathways, and these precautions reduce the risk of electrical surges.

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, as they 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.

Navigating heavy rain: Essential safety measures for wet roads

Heavy rainfall may lead to flooding if prolonged or if there is excessive runoff. Excessive runoff can be a result of saturated ground and/or rainfall intensity. Follow these recommendations from the weather service to stay safe in heavy rain:

Beware of rapid water flow:

  • In heavy rain, refrain from parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches, where swift-moving water can pose a grave danger.

Maintain safe driving distances:

  • The two-second rule for following distance is your ally in heavy rain. Extend it to four seconds to ensure safe spacing in adverse conditions.

Reduce speed and drive cautiously:

  • If it is raining and the roads are wet, slow down. Take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause the car to skid.

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:

  • Overloaded wiper blades can hinder visibility. If rain severely limits your sight, pull over and wait for conditions to improve. Seek refuge at rest areas or protected spots.
  • 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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