Thunderstorm Image 

Thunderstorm Safety Tips

 Thunderstorm Image

Thunderstorms are a common occurrence across Nebraska, and if the right conditions exist, some will become severe.  Recall that if a thunderstorm produces hail equal to or greater than 1 inch in diameter (quarter size), winds equal to or greater than 58 miles per hour, or a tornado, it is considered severe.  Even though thunderstorms can and do occur at any time of the year, the most common time for thunderstorms, and especially severe thunderstorms, is during the spring, summer, and early fall.

There are a number of dangerous aspects of thunderstorms, severe or not, that pose a threat to life and property. 


· Lightning – Occurs with ALL thunderstorms.

 · Floods – Kills more people on average than any other severe weather hazard.

 · Straight-Line Winds – Can exceed 100 miles per hour and cause damage equivalent to a tornado.

 · Large Hail – Causes millions of dollars each year in crop and property damage.

 · Tornadoes – Nature’s most violent storm, with winds over 200 miles per hour possible.

 What do I do before the storm?

  • Know the name of the county where you live and the names of surrounding counties, cities, and landmarks. Warnings are issued on a county basis and cities and landmarks will be named within the warning when possible.
  • Check weather forecasts before leaving for extended periods outdoors.
  • Keep a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards or an AM/FM radio with you to get the latest weather.
  • Watch for signs of approaching storms, such as darkening skies, increasing winds, flashes of lightning, thunder, and static on your AM radio.

Did you know?

  • Lightning can occur from cloud-to-cloud, within a cloud, cloud-to-ground, or cloud-to-air.

  • A downburst is a small area of rapidly descending air beneath a thunderstorm. Once this air hits the ground, it spreads out, causing potentially damaging straight-line winds. Downbursts present an extreme danger to aviation.

  • Large hail stones can fall at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.