A report from the NWS Fort Worth TX on Wednesday at 2:45 a.m. is warning residents of strong thunderstorms. The storms may bring wind gusts of up to 40 mph and marble-sized hail (0.5 inches).
"At 2:45 a.m., Doppler radar tracked a strong thunderstorm near Princeton, or 11 miles east of McKinney, moving southeast at 35 mph," says the NWS. "Gusty winds could knock down tree limbs and blow around unsecured objects. Minor damage to outdoor objects is possible."
The warning is for McKinney, Wylie, Royse City, Princeton, Melissa, Farmersville, Lowry Crossing, Lavon, Blue Ridge, Nevada, Josephine, New Hope, Westminster, Altoga, Copeville, Frognot and Lavon Lake. This includes Interstate 30 near mile marker 79.
According to the NWS, "If outdoors, consider seeking shelter inside a building."
This warning is in effect until 3:15 a.m.
Lightning hits the United States approximately 25 million times annually. The majority of these strikes happen during the summer, causing around 20 fatalities each year, according to the National Weather Service. The likelihood of lightning increases as a thunderstorm gets closer and reaches its highest point when the storm is directly overhead. This risk decreases as the storm moves away.
Here are tips on how to stay safe during a thunderstorm:
• To minimize risk of being struck by lightning, when going outside, have a plan to get to a safer place.
• If the sky becomes menacing and thunder becomes audible, seek out a safe place to seek shelter.
• Once inside, abstain from touching corded phones, electrical devices, plumbing, and windows and doors.
• Wait for 30 minutes after the most recent lightning or thunder before venturing outside.
If finding indoor shelter is not an option:
• Steer clear of open fields, hilltops, or ridge tops.
• Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
• If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members.
• If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low area. Remember, a tent offers no protection from lighting.
• Stay away from water, wet items, and metal objects. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity.
• Turn on your headlights — Even when it's light outside, using headlights can improve visibility and alert other drivers to your presence.
• While driving — Stick to the middle lanes and stay on elevated ground. Rainwater tends to accumulate at the road edges.
• Avoid puddles — Driving into puddles or low rainwater areas can lead to vehicles hydroplaning or losing control.
• Don't tail large vehicles closely — Trucks or buses can kick up a water spray that obstructs visibility.
• Avoid flooded zones — If you encounter a flooded road, make a U-turn and go back. The powerful currents of flash floods can carry drivers off the road. Driving through deep water can also damage a vehicle's mechanical and electrical systems.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is when a vehicle starts uncontrollably sliding on wet roads.
This happens when water in front of the tire builds up faster than the vehicle’s weight can push water out of the way. The water pressure then causes the vehicle to rise and slide on a thin layer of water between the tires and the road, making the driver lose control. The top three contributors to hydroplaning are:
1. Vehicle speed — When a vehicle’s speed increases, the tire-traction grip and ability to control the vehicle decreases. Drive at a reduced speed during wet weather.
2. Water depth — The deeper the water, the sooner a vehicle loses traction on the road. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is, even a thin layer can lead to hydroplaning.
3. Tire tread depth — Checking your tire tread before hitting the road is important, as low or no tread can lead to sliding.
In the event of your vehicle hydroplaning, here’s what to know:
• Ease off the accelerator — Step off the gas to slow down the vehicle until the tires find traction.
• Turn into the skid — Turning into the skid can help the vehicle’s tires realign to regain control.
• Make sure the tires reconnect with the road — During the skid, wait until the tires reconnect with the road and then gently straighten the wheels to regain control.
• Brake gently as needed — Brake normally if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes and pump brakes gently if in an older vehicle.
Source: The National Weather Service
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