On Tuesday at 6:42 p.m. the NWS Fort Worth TX issued an updated severe thunderstorm warning for Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph and penny-sized hail (0.75 inches) are expected.
"At 6:42 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located over Farmers Branch, moving southeast at 20 mph," states the NWS. "Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees."
The warning is for Dallas, Arlington, Plano, Irving, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Euless, Bedford, Grapevine, Keller, Coppell, The Colony, Farmers Branch, Southlake, Balch Springs, University Park and Colleyville.
This warning is in effect until 7:15 p.m.
How to react when facing a lightning hazard?
Lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year. Most of the strikes occur in the summer, killing 20 people each year, according to the National Weather Service. Chance of lightning increases as a thunderstorm approaches and peaks when the storm is overhead. It diminishes as the storm moves away.
Here are recommendations for maintaining safety during a thunderstorm:
• To reduce the chance of being struck by lightning, when venturing outside, have a plan to get to a safer area.
• If the sky grows ominous and you hear thunder, seek out a safe place to take shelter.
• Once inside, avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, 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:
• Avoid open fields, hill peaks, 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.
• When in a group, space out to prevent the current from transferring between individuals.
• If you are camping in an open space, choose a valley, ravine, or low area for your campsite. Remember, tents do not shield you 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.
Rainy weather driving tips
• Switch on headlights — Even during daylight hours, using headlights can enhance visibility and signal your presence to other drivers.
• On the road — Drive in the middle lanes and stay on high ground. Rainwater tends to stockpile on the edges of roads.
• Avoid puddles — Driving into puddles or low rainwater areas can lead to vehicles hydroplaning or losing control.
• Do not follow large vehicles closely — Large vehicles like trucks or buses can create a spray of water that can reduce your visibility.
• Steer clear of flooded areas — When coming to a flooded road, turn around and head back. Flash flooding currents are strong and can sweep drivers off roadways. Driving through deep water can also affect a vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle begins to slide 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. Hydroplaning is primarily caused by three factors:
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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