Severe Weather Awareness Week: Why strong thunderstorm winds cause so much damage

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 1:53 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:46 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Severe thunderstorms are common in the Carolinas and are one of the leading causes of storm-related damage.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, there are roughly 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the United States with approximately 10% of these storms reaching severe levels.

These are most common in the spring and summer months in the Carolinas as temperatures begin to climb.

Peak heating occurs during the afternoon hours, this is when we see our greatest severe storm threat.

The National Weather Service issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning when winds within a storm reach 58 mph or the storm is producing hail larger than 1″ in diameter.

The strongest of storms can produce tornado-like damage as wind gusts climb in excess of 80 mph. These winds can be life-threatening as they are strong enough to knock down trees and powerlines.

The strongest of storms can produce winds over 80 mph
The strongest of storms can produce winds over 80 mph(WMBF)

While strong winds are a significant issue in severe thunderstorms, they certainly aren’t the only threat. Large hail can damage homes and vehicles, and frequent lightning is common. Heavy rain can cause flash flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Be sure to download the free WMBF First Alert Weather app to receive instant notification when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued!

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