Severe weather season preparation

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Here in Meridian and the rest of our area, April is the month where we see the most tornadoes. It is during this month when conditions are the most favorable for severe weather.

“In April we really start warming up,” says Storm Team 11 chief meteorologist Brian Hutton, Jr. “Most of our April high temperatures are into the 70s so it’s not uncommon for us to see days in the 80s, so we get really warm. And all it takes is a nice, strong cold front moving through and with all the other ingredients in place to cause an outbreak of severe weather.”

There are several key ingredients for the development of severe thunderstorms that can produce large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes.

“We need warm humid air, we then need uplift because it doesn’t do any good if that warm, humid air doesn’t go anywhere,” Hutton explains. “So we lift that warm, humid air and then we need to be able to rotate it; that’s where the wind shear come in, we need winds to change direction and speed with height, so if we could get all three of those together, that’s usually our basic ingredients for us to see severe weather.”

There are ways to protect yourself if you’re under a tornado warning.

“Anytime a tornado warning is issued, you want to get into your safe place. Which is if you’re in your house it’s on your lowest floor of a basement if you have it, storm shelter if you have it,” Hutton says. “If not, your lowest floor and you want to be in an interior room that has no exterior wall or windows. For most people that’s a bathroom or a closest.”

You also want to protect your head with a mattress, pillow, or even a helmet. Not all severe weather events will have tornadoes, but all severe weather events should be taken seriously.

“A lot of times when we have severe thunderstorm warnings, people brush them off, ‘oh it’s just a run of the mill thunderstorm in the summertime that can hit severe criteria. But this time of year especially, there is an increased chance of it being a wind threat, because the ingredients are better in place for us to see damaging winds and a very increased likelihood of seeing large hailstones,” Hutton explains.

The best way to stay alert during severe weather season is to purchase a Midland NOAA weather radio. These could be purchased at Cowboy Maloney’s and Walgreens in both Meridian and Philadelphia.