Severe weather has and can impact any location to varying degrees. The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. While they impact a smaller area than other storms, it is important not to take thunderstorms lightly. ALL thunderstorms are dangerous. They often occur with associated dangers like tornadoes, straight-line winds that can exceed 125 mph and cause destruction equal to a tornado, flash floods, hail that can be larger than a softball and fall at speeds faster than 100 mph, and wildfires or injuries caused by lightning.
Lightning occurs with all thunderstorms and is caused by the buildup and discharge of electrical energy. As the electrical energy builds, it rapidly heats the air, producing a shock wave that results in thunder. Lightning strikes, which can heat the air to 50,000° Fahrenheit, continue to be one of the top three storm-related killers, often because an individual waited too long to find shelter. Survivors struck by lightning often report a variety of debilitating injuries.