Pea-sized hail predicted with thunderstorms in Elmore and Montgomery counties Sunday

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The National Weather Service issued a report at 7:04 p.m. on Sunday for strong thunderstorms until 7:30 p.m. for Elmore and Montgomery counties.

The storms could bring wind gusts of up to 40 mph and pea-sized hail (0.25 inches).

“At 7:04 p.m., Doppler radar tracked a strong thunderstorm near Blue Ridge, or near Wetumpka. This thunderstorm was nearly stationary,” states the weather service. “Gusty winds could knock down tree limbs and blow around unsecured objects. Minor hail damage to vegetation is possible.”

Locations impacted by the alert include Northeastern Montgomery, Wetumpka, Montgomery Zoo, Boylston, Auburn University In Montgomery, Bob Woodruff Lake, Emerald Mountain, Eastdale Mall, Mount Meigs, Blue Ridge, Lagoon Park, Gunter Air Force Base, Mitylene, Brassell, Wallsboro, Ware and Tallapoosa Water Plant.

The weather service comments, “If outdoors, consider seeking shelter inside a building.”

Preparing for approaching lightning: Expert safety advice

Each year, lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times, with the majority of these electrifying events occurring during the summer months. Unfortunately, lightning is responsible for claiming the lives of approximately 20 people annually, as reported by the weather service. The threat of lightning becomes more pronounced as thunderstorms draw nearer, peaking when the storm is directly overhead and gradually waning as it moves away.

To guarantee your safety in the midst of a thunderstorm, take into account the following recommendations:

Lightning safety plan:

  • When venturing outdoors, it’s vital to establish a clear plan for seeking shelter in case of lightning.
  • Stay vigilant by monitoring the sky for ominous signs and listening for the telltale sound of thunder. If thunder is audible, it’s a clear indication of nearby lightning.
  • Seek shelter promptly in a safe location, preferably indoors.

Indoors safety measures:

  • Once you’re indoors, avoid using corded phones, electrical devices, plumbing fixtures, and stay away from windows and doors.
  • Lightning can follow conductive pathways, and these precautions reduce the risk of electrical surges.

Wait for the all-clear:

  • After the last lightning strike or thunderclap, wait at least 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activities.
  • Lightning can strike even when a storm has seemingly passed, so exercise caution.

When indoor shelter isn’t available:

If you find yourself outdoors with no access to indoor shelter during a thunderstorm, take these steps to maximize your safety:

  • Avoid open fields, hilltops, or ridge crests, as they expose you to greater lightning risk.
  • Steer clear of tall, isolated trees and other prominent objects. In wooded areas, stay close to lower stands of trees.
  • If you’re in a group, ensure that individuals are spaced out to prevent lightning current from transferring between people.
  • Camping in an open setting during a thunderstorm is strongly discouraged. If no alternative exists, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low-lying areas. Remember that a tent offers no protection against lightning.
  • Do not approach water bodies, wet objects, or metal items. Although water and metal do not attract lightning, they conduct electricity effectively and can pose significant risks.

In summary, when facing the threat of lightning, vigilance and preparedness are your best allies. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the chances of lightning-related accidents and prioritize your safety.

Driving through downpours: Safety guidelines for wet roads

When heavy rain pours, the risk of flooding and treacherous roads rises. Here’s your guide from the weather service to staying safe during downpours:

Beware of swollen waterways:

In heavy rain, refrain from parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches, where swift-moving water can pose a grave danger.

Maintain safe driving distances:

The two-second rule for following distance is your ally in heavy rain. Extend it to four seconds to ensure safe spacing in adverse conditions.

Slow down and stay cautious:

If it is raining and the roads are wet, slow down. Take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause the car to skid.

Choose your lane wisely:

Stick to the middle lanes to minimize the risk of hydroplaning. Outer lanes are more prone to accumulating water.

Prioritize visibility

Enhance your visibility in heavy rain by activating your headlights. Be particularly vigilant for vehicles in blind spots, as rain-smeared windows can obscure them.

Watch out for slippery roads:

Be extra careful during the first half hour after rain begins. Grime and oil on the road surface mix with water to make the road slippery.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

Large trucks and buses can reduce your visibility with tire spray. Avoid tailgating and pass them swiftly and safely.

Mind your windshield wipers:

Overloaded wiper blades can hinder visibility. If rain severely impairs your vision, pull over and wait for conditions to improve. Seek refuge at rest areas or sheltered spots.

When stopping by the roadside is your only option, position your vehicle as far off the road as possible, ideally beyond guardrails. Keep your headlights on and activate emergency flashers to alert other drivers of your position.

In the face of heavy rain, these precautions can make a significant difference in ensuring your safety on the road. Remember to stay informed about weather conditions and heed guidance from local authorities for a secure journey.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.

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