An updated weather alert issued by the NWS Fort Worth TX on Sunday at 4:29 p.m. is warning residents of strong thunderstorms. The warning is for Collin, Hunt, Rockwall and Kaufman counties. Wind gusts of up to 55 mph and marble-sized hail (0.5 inches) are expected.
"At 4:29 p.m., Doppler radar tracked a strong thunderstorm 8 miles southwest of Quinlan, or 8 miles north of Terrell. This storm was nearly stationary," states the NWS. "Gusty winds could knock down tree limbs and blow around unsecured objects. Minor damage to outdoor objects is possible."
Locations impacted by the warning include Rockwall, Greenville, Royse City, Heath, Fate, Farmersville, Quinlan, Caddo Mills, Campbell, Hawk Cove, Mobile City, Merit, Greenville City Lakes, Greenville Club Lake, Lake Tawakoni, McLendon-Chisholm, Nevada, Josephine, Union Valley and Cash. This includes Interstate 30 between mile markers 70 and 106.
According to the NWS, "If outdoors, consider seeking shelter inside a building."
This warning is in effect until 5 p.m.
Actions to take when lightning threat is imminent
Around 25 million lightning strikes occur in the United States every year, with most taking place during the summer months. The National Weather Service reports that these strikes result in about 20 fatalities annually. The probability of lightning strikes rises as a thunderstorm approaches and peaks when the storm is directly above. As the storm moves away, this likelihood decreases.
Here are tips on how to stay safe during a thunderstorm:
• To decrease the risk of getting struck by lightning, when you go outside, establish a plan to reach a safer place.
• If the sky grows ominous and you hear thunder, seek out a safe place to take shelter.
• Once inside, abstain from touching corded phones, electrical devices, plumbing, and windows and doors.
• Wait for 30 minutes after the final lightning or thunder before heading outside again.
If finding indoor shelter is not an option:
• Stay away from open fields, hill summits, or ridge tops.
• Avoid tall, isolated trees or other elevated objects. If you are in a forest, stick to areas with shorter tree cover.
• If you are with a group, fan out to stop the current from transmitting between members.
• When camping in an open environment, select a campsite in a valley, ravine, or low region. Just remember, tents do not offer protection from lightning.
• Keep a distance from water, wet articles, and metal objects. While water and metal do not draw lightning, they are proficient conductors of electricity.
What to do in the rain on the road?
• 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.
• Keep clear of puddles — Driving through puddles or low rainwater areas can cause vehicles to hydroplane or skid out of control
• Don't tail large vehicles closely — Trucks or buses can kick up a water spray that obstructs visibility.
• Avoid flooded areas — When encountering a flooded road, do a U-turn and head back. The strong currents from flash floods can pull drivers off roadways. Driving through deep water can also negatively affect a vehicle's mechanical and electrical systems.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning is the term for when a vehicle begins sliding uncontrollably 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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