SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS: How do you perceive them?

Cropped File Photo: Jim Pennucci / CC BY 2.0
Cropped File Photo: Jim Pennucci / CC BY 2.0
Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 5:31 PM CST
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How do you perceive severe thunderstorm warnings?

We see them quite often in the Ozarks: thunderstorms. Sometimes they grow quite strong, even severe.

"Any time we believe that there's going to be a threat of damaging winds and or large hail," said Steve Runnels, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Springfield. "The National Weather Service is gonna issue a severe thunderstorm warning."

But oftentimes, people don't heed this type of warning. When Chris Bryant was asked if he does anything different when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued:

"No. Not one thing," said Bryant. "I don't do anything different at all."

It's simply because, like many people, he hasn't personally seen much damage from a severe thunderstorm.

"Usually it means it's gonna be a little windy and a little rainy," added Bryant. "Nothing that usually happens beyond that."

KY3 Chief Meteorologist Ron Hearst agrees many people ignore warnings about severe thunderstorms.

"I think part of the problem is that we have a lot of them here in the Ozarks," he said. "And for most people it's loud and, you know, there's some heavy rain, but, you know, they don't consider all the other weapons that a thunderstorm posesses."

Both Runnels and Hearst caution that these storms can have a significant impact.

"All warnings are gonna have an impact," said Runnels. "Quarter size hail driven by high winds, all the way up to a storm capable of producing softball size hail. these are all potentially gonna cause injury, death or damage, and we want people to respond immediately when they get those warnings."

"You wanna make sure that people have the information that they need to know in order to make decisions to keep them safe and their family safe," said Hearst.

While many severe thunderstorms may miss your home, it only takes one that doesn't to change that. It's best to take shelter whenever a severe thunderstorm approaches your area.