This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the National Weather Service wants to take each day to highlight specifics about Severe Weather. Today’s focus is on Severe Thunderstorms and Lightning. A Thunderstorm is considered Severe if it produces wind gusts of 58mph or higher, large hail, a tornado, or any combination of those things. The NWS says that peak season for severe thunderstorms is April – September, but can occur at any time. Lightning is also a part of Severe Thunderstorms, and on average kills 55 people each year in the United States. The NWS says that you should take lightning seriously, as it can strike at any time severe weather is present. Some lightning strikes can even occur many miles away from a parent thunderstorm. In the event of Severe Weather, the NWS recommends that you move indoors or to a shelter, avoid standing in open or high areas, and avoid tall objects such as trees or other objects that might attract lightning. The statewide Emergency Alert System live code was scheduled for Thursday of this week, but was called off in March due to an error in the system. You’re still encouraged to test your emergency response plans at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, to make sure you’re ready in the event that severe weather were to be in the area.

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