Public Information Statement

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
825 AM CST MON FEB 20 2006


...TODAY IS SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AWARENESS DAY....


TODAY IS SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AWARENESS DAY.  THUNDERSTORMS ARE A
COMMON OCCURRENCE IN ALABAMA DURING ANY TIME OF THE DAY...MONTH...OR
YEAR.  THERE ARE ABOUT 2000 THUNDERSTORMS IN PROGRESS AROUND THE
WORLD AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT.  HOWEVER...LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF THESE
THUNDERSTORMS ARE CLASSIFIED AS SEVERE.  SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE
DEFINED AS THUNDERSTORMS THAT PRODUCE HAIL THREE QUARTERS OF AN INCH
OR LARGER AND STRONG WIND GUSTS OF 58 MILES AN HOUR OR GREATER.
HAIL THAT IS THREE QUARTERS OF AN INCH IN DIAMETER IS ABOUT THE SIZE
OF A PENNY.


ALL THUNDERSTORMS GENERATE POTENTIALLY DEADLY LIGHTNING.  HOWEVER...
LIGHTNING IN A THUNDERSTORM DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT THE
THUNDERSTORM IS SEVERE.  OCCASIONALLY...A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE TORNADOES WITH LITTLE OR NO ADVANCE WARNING.


ALABAMA`S PEAK THUNDERSTORM SEASON IS MARCH...APRIL...AND
MAY...USUALLY DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING HOURS.  ALABAMA
HAS A SECONDARY SEVERE WEATHER SEASON IN NOVEMBER THROUGH MID
DECEMBER.  SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND DO OCCUR ANY MONTH OF THE
YEAR AND ANYTIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT.


HERE ARE SOME SEVERE THUNDERSTORM SAFETY RULES...


THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST THUNDERSTORMS IS TO STAY INSIDE A STURDY...
SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING THAT CAN SUSTAIN HIGH WINDS.  IF CAUGHT
OUTSIDE...FIND SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.  THUNDERSTORMS TYPICALLY LAST NO
MORE THAN AN HOUR.  STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND AVOID ELECTRICAL
EQUIPMENT.  BE SURE TO SECURE LOOSE OBJECTS OUTSIDE AS THESE OBJECTS
OFTEN BECOME DANGEROUS FLYING DEBRIS IN HIGH WINDS.


A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS TO DEVELOP WITHIN THE NEXT FEW HOURS.  PEOPLE
LOCATED IN AND AROUND THE WATCH AREA SHOULD KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY
AND LISTEN TO YOUR NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR LOCAL BROADCAST MEDIA FOR
FURTHER WEATHER INFORMATION.


A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING MEANS THAT EITHER A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM IS OCCURRING...HAS BEEN DETECTED BY NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR...OR HAS BEEN REPORTED TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE OFFICE BY OUR SKYWARN STORM SPOTTERS...LOCAL LAW
ENFORCEMENT...OR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES.  WHEN A THUNDERSTORM
WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR COUNTY...TREAT IT THE SAME AS YOU WOULD
FOR A TORNADO WARNING BY TAKING THE PROPER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN PRODUCE STRONG DAMAGING WINDS...LARGE
HAIL...LIGHTNING...AND POSSIBLE TORNADOES.


IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WEATHER SAFETY RULES CONTACT THE
BIRMINGHAM NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE AT (205) 664-3010.


THE FOCUS FOR TUESDAY WILL BE ON LIGHTNING AWARENESS.  FOR
ADDITIONAL DETAILS CONCERNING SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK...PLEASE
VISIT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN BIRMINGHAM`S WEBSITE AT
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/BMX.
$$
JBW

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