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Hail and Straight-Line Winds

Hail and Straight-Line Wind Facts:

  • Numerous thunderstorms strike North Texas every year, many of them severe.
  • A severe thunderstorm is defined as a storm that produces winds of at least 58 mph, hail three-fourths of an inch in diameter, or a tornado.
  • While tornadoes are extremely dangerous, wind and hail storms can do similar damage, so thunderstorms should never be taken for granted.
  • Straight-line winds, or winds in excess of 100 mph, are strong enough to uproot trees and cause substantial damage to buildings.
  • Downburst winds - severe and rapid downdrafts of air that push damaging winds outward on or near ground level, are especially dangerous to aircraft.
  • Hail falling to earth at speeds nearing 100 mph, can damage trees, crops, automobiles, buildings and people.
  • Hail storms cause more than $1 billion in damage nationwide each year.

What to Do?

  • As with other severe weather threats, the key is to monitor TV and radio broadcasts as well as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio for storm warnings and watches.
  • When straight-line winds threaten, respond the same way you would to the threat of a tornado.
  • Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Stay away from windows. If you are outside, cover your head to protect against flying debris.
  • If you encounter hail while driving, turn around. You may be driving into the core of a thunderstorm where tornadoes form.
  • Don’t touch electrical equipment or cords

Updated: September 24, 2014