Severe Weather Introduction

Many of us want to believe that a severe storm or tornado will never happen where we live.  However severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding have happened in Waupaca and they will happen again.  This information has been prepared to assist you in knowing what to do in the event of severe weather.  Know the basics of severe weather prepared to assist you in knowing what to do in the event of severe weather.  Know the basics of severe weather safety now, so you can Plan to Survive!

Weather definitions and terminology you should know:

Watch – A watch simply means conditions are favorable for a severe weather event in or near the watch area.  Watches are issued for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods.  A watch means you should be alert for changing weather.  Stay tuned to local radio, TV, and NOAA weather radio for updates on changing weather conditions.

Warning – A warning means that the severe weather event is imminent or is now occurring in the warned area.  Warnings are issued for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, and river flooding.  If a warning has been issued for your area, seek shelter immediately!

Severe Thunderstorm – A severe thunderstorm is a storm that produces hail 3/4 inch in diameter or larger and/or wind gusts of 58 mph or more.

Tornado – A tornado is a violently rotating column of air attached to a thunderstorm and in contact with the ground.  Tornadoes can be deadly and devastating storms, with wind gusts up to 260 mph.

Funnel Cloud – A funnel cloud is a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from the thunderstorm base.

Downburst – A downburst is a strong downdraft with an out-rush of damaging wind on or near the ground.  Downbursts are responsible for most thunderstorm wind damage.  Winds may exceed 100 mph in very strong downbursts.

Flash Flood – A flash flood is a rapid rise in water, usually within 12 hours of a period of heavy rain or other causative event, such as a dam break.  Flash flooding is a major killer.  Many flash floods occur at night.