Thunder Storm Questions

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by meowbunny, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Okay, I admit it, I'm clueless -- I understand snowstorms, earthquakes, landslides, but thunderstorms are beyond my ken. The last time I was really in one, I think I was about 10 years old.

    Even the cats are confused. One slept through the big one we had today. The other own looked up and kinda said, "huh???" The third had the sense to know cats are supposed to be scared and chased the dog away from me and curled up as close as she could get. (The dog tried to get under the bed but only hit his head, so on the bed by me was the best he could do.

    We are actually getting storm warnings but they just tell us there is a big storm here. They don't tell us what to do. So, we are now having another downpour, the streets are flooded and I have no clue how close it is because it is rolling thunder that doesn't quit with lightning in between it. I know you'r supposed to be able to get the distance as to how far away the lightning is (1 mile per second between the lightning and the thunder), but when do you need to start unplugging and what do you need to unplug?

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Did you live somewhere where you don't get thunderstorms? Is there such a place? I can't imagine. I *love* thunderstorms. I love to sit on the porch and watch them roll in. You can smell the rain in the air.

    OK. Generally a severe thunderstorm means heavy rain, a lot of wind and lightening, possibly hail. Do you have weatherbug on your computer? It's a free download and a really cool program. I've had it for years. It keeps the temp in your taskbar and if there is a severe weather alert, it chirps at you. You just click on it and you can read the entire alert that is specific to each scenario.

    I make sure I have everything plugged into a power strip so I don't unplug anything, but if you're worried just unplug your bigger ticket items such as the tv, computer, microwave. Probably, though, your microwave is in the kitchen and all of those outlets should be on a GFI, so nothing really to worry about. Some people - namely, my mom - won't talk on the phone during a storm, but I do. But then I laugh in the face of danger. *snort* There's really nothing else to do except not to go outside with a lightening rod.

    If you have continual rolling thunder and lightning then the storm is pretty much right on top of you. At least that's always been what I thought.

    I know a good hour before a storm is coming because the dog starts to pace and pant and goes in and out from under the desk. Once the storm hits, GFGcat goes behind and under my antique ice box. The other 2 cats aren't phased.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Oh, and if it's a bad enough storm and it's late, I light a couple of candles in case the power goes out. There's so much construction around us that it doesn't take much for our power to go out.
  4. jamrobmic

    jamrobmic New Member

    The only thing I worry about during a thunderstorm is whether there could be a tornado with it (if there's hail, there's a greater chance there could be a tornado, but one doesn't always mean the other). by the way, a lady in a town near here was killed by lightning while talking on the phone, although cordless phones shouldn't be a problem:

    I really wish we would get a storm here, I love to watch them, too.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I do the same thing. I have the website up for one of the local TV stations so I can watch the progress of the storm on their local weather maps. If it looks like it will be a bad storm, I get a flashlight. And I have a decorative plate in my back bedroom that has three fat candles on it and I get that too, just in case. That's about all I can do. Where do you live that you don't have thunderstorms?

    All this reminds me of my grandmother when I was a kid in Florida. She was terrified of storms (among a lot of other things!) If it started to rain hard, even if it was 3:00 a.m., she would get up, fix her hair, get completely dressed including shoes and stockings, gather a few of her most prized possessions, and then sit there on her sofa clutching her purse ... just waiting to be evacuated by the rescue folks. When it stopped raining (and it always stopped raining eventually) she'd go back to bed. Of course, she's also the one who saved her old WW2 ration books just in case we had another war and she might need them! You never know!
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Thanks. It has gotten worse here -- we are now in a tornado warning. No one told me Florida had tornadoes. roflao
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Tornado warning or watch? Tornado warning means take cover NOW. It means a tornado has been spotted.

    Tornado watch means conditions are conducive to tornado's, but one hasn't been spotted.

    If it's a warning, go to a basement or interior room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom or 1/2 bath.

    We have a tornado siren that goes off in our town when there is a tornado warning.
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Warning. But it's passed. There may another one in about 20 minutes. We shall see. None of have touched ground.

    At least I'm not bored here. The cats are still pretty calm and Scoots is snoring, so things are okay for now. I do think we're at a greater risk for this second bout and I am watching.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    If you have a sump pump in the basement, you may want to consider investing in a generator. If the power goes out long enough during a heavy storm, you could end up with quite a bit of water in your basement.
  10. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    No basements in Florida but thanks.

    Well, I think we're through the worst of it. Thanks for your help. I truly wished I'd known Florida got tornadoes. That is the one weather/natural condition I truly fear.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was gonna laugh at the idea of basements in florida...lmao. Water table is way too high there. Heck...I cant have a basement where I live. My water table is about only about 6 feet deep if that.

    Florida gets thunderstorms quite often. Depending where you are, get prepared for them almost as a daily afternoon occurrence. When I used to visit my grandmother in Daytona in the spring and summer, she had afternoon thunderstorms almost daily.
  12. Pam R

    Pam R New Member

    We unplug for each and every one. Not turn off, unplug from wall. All electronics, like stereo, computers, TV, etc. And when doing the computer, don't forget to unplug the phone line from the box if you have DSL.

    To make life easier, we use lots of surge protectors. We plug 1 into the wall and run it out to where we can reach it. Then plug another into it and plug everything into the second one. To unplug everything, just pull the plug out of the first protector and you are done.

    Surge protectors will not protect from a lightning strike.

    Basically unplug anything you can't afford to replace, except refrigerators/freezers or heavy appliances you can't easily reach the cords of, or that have special plugs you can't use surge protectors on, like dryers and stoves.

    We do not have a lot of thunderstorms here, but we prefer to be safe than sorry, as we can't afford to replace appliances.

    My mom lives in an area that does not get a lot of thunderstorms, but when they do, their house seems to attract hits. They've been hit at least 3 times and lost lots of appliances.

    Pam R.
  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Already used to daily thunderstorms, Janet, thanks. Until yesterday afternoon, none have been directly overhead though. We did unplug computers and Jess's tv. Mine was more work than it was worth, so we just turned it off. Can't wait to find the box with my surge protectors. I will feel so much better then.

    The tornado warning was scary, though! Tornadoes happen in Kansas, Oklahoma, not the South (or so I thought). It did touch down in a town north of us with some damage, but no injuries that I've heard of.

    Heather, thanks again for being there last night. You didn't know it, but you were holding my hand as I tried to not act afraid for my daughter.
  14. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm glad you guys made it through in one piece. Those storms with the continuous thunder and heavy lightning are unnerving. Throw in tornado warnings and, know what I mean.

    You may want to pick up a battery powered radio for severe weather situations and keep it with you during those times. That way if the power goes out, you can still keep up with what's going on.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MB...Look on your local tv stations website. They may offer weather bulletins to be sent to your cellphone. I know mine does. I can get emergency warnings sent as text messages to my cellphone if I wanted to do that so you may want to sign up for that service. Its free.

    You could at least get the emergency warnings of where the tornados or hurricanes are down in the area.

    A good weather radio or crank radio/tv is a good idea too. I think I saw one at Pennys not too long ago.
  16. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I love thunderstorms. When we were kids we'd sit in our garages and watch them roll in. Then after the worst of it, we'd take popsicle sticks and watch them roll down the side of the street in the big rivlets the rain created. It was fun.

    Typically, my older dog freaks, but the younger one doesn't seem to notice. I shut down the computer altogether because I don't want any power surges. Also the tv, DVD player, etc. We do not run water or use wired phones. We're up kind of high and there have been lightening strikes around here. We also live in a rural area and lose power often, so I always have candles at the ready and at least one camping lantern or flashlight. It's almost like an event! We make snakcy foods and just wait it out, unless it's at night. Then we just lay there and listen to the rain pounding on our roof.
  17. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    There is no place that "doesn't get tornados" -- they have been recorded in every one of the 50 states in the US, and I suppose in the rest of the world. Of course they are more frequent in "Tornado Alley".

    The number of reported tornados is higher in more densely populated areas. That is why Dallas/Ft. Worth and Oklahoma City/Tulsa appear like high-tornado islands on the map. The actual number of tornados is probably just as frequent in the rural areas in between, it's just that nobody reported those.

    I grew up in Tulsa. The big danger there is complacency. The warnings are so frequent that people tend to start thinking the weather bureaus are crying wolf. The other dangers with severe t-storms are lightning strikes and flash floods. It is good advice to unplug electronics (not just turn off, unplug) and the land line phones.

    The rule of thumb for how distant a lightning strike is is 5 seconds per mile. The speed of sound at sea level is approximately 1100 feet/second, so sound takes slightly less than 5 seconds to travel one mile (at 70 degrees). That's 344 meters per second, or about 3 seconds per kilometer, if you use the metric system. Sound travels slower at lower temperature, but the approximation is good enough. If there is no perceptible gap between the lightning and thunder then the lightning is quite close, probably within 100 yards. There is also an effect of "attenuation": higher frequency sound dies out sooner. Thus if you hear a high "crack" then the lightning is relatively close, whereas a long, low rolling rumble is distant.

    As many people are killed by lightning as by tornados annually.