Who's Most at Risk?

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When Are Thunderstorms Most Likely?

Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours but can occur year-round and at all hours. Along the Gulf Coast and across the southeastern and western states, most thunderstorms occur during the afternoon.

Thunderstorms frequently occur in the late afternoon and at night in the Plains states.
Thunder and lightning occasionally accompany snow or freezing rain. During the blizzard of March 1993, lightning resulted in power outages near Washington, D.C.!

Who's Most At Risk From Thunderstorms?

From Lightning:

People who are outdoors, especially under or near tall trees; in or on water; or on or near hilltops.

From Flooding:

People who are in automobiles when flash flooding occurs near them.

From Tornadoes:

People who are in mobile homes and automobiles. 

Thunderstorm Winds & Hail


  • A small area of rapidly descending air beneath a thunderstorm
  • Can cause damaging winds in excess of 100 mph.
  • The strong winds usually approach from one direction and may be known as "straight-line" winds.
  • In extreme cases, straight-line winds can reach speeds equal to a strong tornado, causing significant damage to some buildings.
  • Strong winds may or may not be accompanied by rain.

Large Hail

  • The strong rising currents of air within a storm, called updrafts, carry water droplets to a height where freezing occurs.
  • Ice particles grow in size, finally becoming too heavy to be supported by the updraft and fall to the ground.
  • Large hailstones fall at speeds faster than 100 mph.

Click here to learn about lightning...Nature's Fireworks.