Press Release from WFO San Angelo

2014 Severe Weather Awareness Week

 

Severe Weather Awareness Week

 

 

What is the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING?
Watch - A watch means that severe weather is possible in the next several hours.  During a watch is the appropriate time to prepare you and your family in the event that severe weather does occur.  Watches are generally issued 6-8 hours in advance, although flast flood watches may be issued 24-36 hours ahead of time. Warning - A warning is issued when severe weather is either obvserved or is likely to occur soon.  It is time to take shelter whenever a warning is issued.  Warnings are short-fused products that are usually less than 3 hours in duration.

  

Severe Thunderstorms
Severe Thunderstorms - Thunderstorms are considered severe if they include wind gusts of 58 mph or greater and/or hail with a diameter of 1 inch or greater.
Tornado Tornadoes - A tornado is defined as a violenty rotating column of air pendent from or beneath a cumuliform cloud.  In other words, the circulation must be connected to the cloud base as well as the ground.  However, the funnel itself may not be visible.  Tornadoes kill approximately 60 individuals each year across the United States.
Flood Flash Flooding - Flash flooding is by far the primary killer among severe weather hazards, claiming approximately 140 lives each year.  More than half of all flash flood related fatalities are vehicle related.
Lightning Lightning - Lightning is one of Mother Nature's visual wonders.  However, it can be very deadly.  Lightning kills an average of around 60 people each year in the United States.
Severe weather preparedness information

- Thunderstorms, Tornadoes & Lightning (pdf)

- Tornadoes (pdf)

- Storm Prediction Center Tornado FAQ

- Floods...The Awesome Power (NWS)

- Flooding...Are You Ready?  (FEMA)

- Turn Around Don't Drown (TADD)

- Lightning Safety for Your Family

- Lightning Safety - A Coach's Guide

 


 

LightningSevere weather season is fast approaching and now is the time to develop a plan to help keep you safe during times of inclement weather. Knowing the severe weather safety recommendations will help keep you and your family (as well as your pets and property) free from harm this spring.

West Central  Texas experiences its share of severe weather. Large hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes are expected each and every year. However, two weather phenomena that are routinely overlooked are lightning and flash floods. In the United States, flash floods kill more individuals each year than large hail, tornadoes, and damaging straight-line winds combined.  Over the past few years, West Central Texas has experienced relatively slow severe weather seasons.  However, we don't know when that trend will come to and end.  Across the nation, 2012 was much slower than the record setting statistics from 2011. The national tornado related death toll for 2012 was listed at 69, compared to the 553 killed in 2011. 

This page will offer basic storm information and statistics but will also serve as a vehicle to provide weather safety recommendations so you know what to do whenever severe weather strikes.

 


 
  

Severe Weather Statistics

The image to the right depicts the severe weather stats of 2011 compared to both 10-year and 30-year averages. As can easily be seen, of the severe weather members of the list, floods kill more individuals than tornadoes, lightning, and hail (which didn't even make the list).  By comparison, the 553 tornado related fatalities in 2011 is more nearly 10 times both the 10-year and 30-year averages.  Fortunately, lightning deaths have been down over the past few years but the 30-year average for lightning related fatalities is on par with that of tornadoes.  2012 (not depicted on this image), still saw tornado fatalities slightly above average, even during a relatively quiet year.

Adding up the numbers, the 30-year average for severe weather deaths overall (floods, lightning, and tornadoes) is just over 200. 

Knowing the recommended safety precautions before severe weather strikes can keep you or your loved ones from becoming one of these statistics.


 

 Average Tornadoes by State The image to the left is average tornadoes per state.  Taking area out of the equation, Texas averages nearly twice as many tornadoes on an annual basis than any other state.  However, once you factor in area, Texas moves more toward the middle of the pack.  However you want to look at it, Texas experiences a significant amount of tornadoes each year.  Most tornadoes are weak, but even a weak tornado can cause significant damage or even fatalities.

 


NOAA Weather Radio

The National Weather Service in San Angelo operates 8 NWR transmitters across West Central Texas.  These radio transmitters provide potentially life saving information in the event of severe weather or a natural/man made disaster.  Signal availability is good across almost all of the San Angelo forecast area with a few exceptions in extremely remote areas of western Crockett County as well as central Sutton/Schleicher Counties.  Below is a table of the NWS San Angelo transmitters, their frequencies and wattage.

 

 

NOAA Weather Radio
NWR Receivers
Transmitter Frequency Power (Watts)
Abilene 162.400 1000 W
San Angelo 162.550 1000 W
Coleman 162.475 300 W
Junction 162.475 1000 W
Ozona 162.500 300 W
Richland Springs 162.525 1000 W
Sweetwater 162.425 300 W
Throckmorton 162.425 1000 W

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