Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
729 AM CST MON MAR 2 2015

...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN LOUISIANA...
        ... MARCH 1 THROUGH MARCH 7 2015

THE WEEK OF MARCH 1 THROUGH MARCH 7 HAS BEEN DESIGNATED AS SEVERE
WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN LOUISIANA. LATE WINTER AND
SPRING MONTHS TYPICALLY BRING THE HIGHEST FREQUENCY OF SEVERE
WEATHER TO GULF COAST REGION. SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IS GOOD
TIME TO REVIEW SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY PLANS AND ENSURE YOU HAVE A
MEANS TO RECEIVE TIMELY WARNINGS.

THE TOPIC TODAY IS SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND ASSOCIATED HAZARDS AND SAFETY
INFORMATION...

BY DEFINITION...A THUNDERSTORM IS CLASSIFIED AS SEVERE IF IT PRODUCES
HAIL 1 INCH IN DIAMETER OR LARGER AND/OR WIND GUSTS 58 MPH OR
STRONGER.

DOWNWARD RUSHING CURRENTS OF AIR...CALLED DOWNDRAFTS...OCCUR ALONG
THE LEADING EDGE OF THUNDERSTORMS. VERY STRONG DOWNDRAFTS ARE OFTEN
CALLED DOWNBURSTS. WIND GUSTS IN SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN REACH 60
MPH...AND CAN SOMETIMES APPROACH 100 MPH. THE STRONG THUNDERSTORM
WIND GUSTS CAN PRODUCE A ROARING SOUND...OFTEN MISTAKEN FOR A
TORNADO.  THESE STRONG WIND GUSTS ASSOCIATED WITH SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS CAN DAMAGE OR DESTROY MOBILE HOMES....DOWN TREES AND
POWER LINES...AND DAMAGE POORLY CONSTRUCTED BUILDINGS.

LARGE HAIL CAN ALSO OCCUR IN SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS. HAILSTONES ARE
PRECIPITATION IN THE FORM OF LUMPS OF ICE THAT FORM DURING SOME
THUNDERSTORMS.  HAILSTONES ARE USUALLY ROUND AND RANGE FROM PEA SIZE
TO THE SIZE OF A GRAPEFRUIT. HAIL IS MOST DEVASTATING TO CROPS BUT
CAN ALSO CAUSE HEAVY DAMAGE TO AUTOMOBILES...ROOFS...AND AIRCRAFT.

WHILE LARGE HAIL IS UNCOMMON IN SOUTH LOUISIANA OR SOUTH
MISSISSIPPI....IT CAN OCCASIONALLY OCCUR.

ON MAY 14.. 2008...LARGE HAIL FELL IN WIDE SWATH FROM SOUTHERN
POINTE COUPEE PARISH ACROSS BATON ROUGE INTO LIVINGSTON PARISH.
CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE OCCURRED TO HOUSE ROOFS AND AUTOMOBILES FROM
BOTH OF THESE EVENTS.  IN FEBRUARY 2013...LARGE HAIL...UP TO THE
SIZE OF GOLF BALLS FELL ACROSS THE WEST BANK AREAS OF THE NEW
ORLEANS AREA RESULTING IN PROPERTY DAMAGE.

HAILSTONES GENERALLY FORM IN THUNDERSTORMS BETWEEN THE CURRENTS OF
RISING AIR...THE UPDRAFT...AND THE CURRENT OF AIR DESCENDING TOWARD
THE GROUND...THE DOWNDRAFT.  LARGE HAILSTONES INDICATE STRONG
UPDRAFTS IN STORMS.  THE LARGER THE HAIL THE STRONGER THE UPDRAFT
NEEDED TO HOLD IT ALOFT IN THE THUNDERSTORM.  IT IS FOR THIS REASON
THAT IN STORMS THAT PRODUCE TORNADOES...THE HAIL OFTEN FALLS
DIRECTLY TO THE NORTHEAST OR EAST OF THE PATH OF A TORNADO. THE
STRONG UPDRAFT IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PART OF THE STORM THAT CAN
PRODUCE A TORNADO.

IF A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM APPROACHES WITH THE THREAT OF DAMAGING WINDS
AND LARGE...SEEK SHELTER IN AN INTERIOR ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
WELL CONSTRUCTED BUILDING AWAY FROM DOORS OR WINDOWS. AN INTERIOR
SMALL ROOM SUCH AS A BATHROOM OR CLOSET..OR EVEN A HALLWAY AWAY FROM
DOORS AND WINDOWS IS THE BEST LOCATION.

ON WEDNESDAY MORNING AROUND 915AM ...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
WILL ISSUE A TEST TORNADO WARNING MESSAGE ON THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO
SYSTEM TO ALLOW ORGANIZATIONS TO TEST AND REVIEW THEIR SEVERE
WEATHER PLANS AND ENSURE THEIR NOAA WEATHER RADIOS ARE WORKING
PROPERLY. THE TEST MESSAGE WILL BE CLEARLY WORDED AS A TEST.  MANY
NOAA WEATHER RADIO MAY NOT SOUND AN AUDIO ALARM...HOWEVER THEY WILL
DISPLAY TEST ON THEIR SCREEN SIGNIFYING THEY SUCCESSFULLY RECEIVED
THE TEST. IF SEVERE WEATHER OR HAZARDOUS WEATHER IS EXPECTED ON
WEDNESDAY THE TEST MESSAGE WILL BE RESCHEDULED TO A LATER DATE.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE NEW ORLEANS / BATON ROUGE AREA
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE...985-649-0357 EXTENSION 4.

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