Know the Terms

Severe weather (thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods) can happen year round here in the Deep South.

Terms to know:

Tornado:  A violently rotating column of air in contact with the ground.  Winds inside a tornado could exceed 250 miles per hour, making it capable of causing extensive damage.  They may last from just a few seconds or minutes to well over an hour.

Severe Thunderstorm:  A thunderstorm that has winds of 58 miles per hour or greater and/or hail 3/4 an inch in diameter (about the size of a penny).  They are also capable of producing numerous lightning strikes and heavy rainfall capable of flash flooding.

Flash Flood:  A flood which is caused by heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period of time, generally less than 6 hours. Also, at times a dam failure can cause a flash flood, depending on the type of dam and time period during which the break occurs.

Flood:  The inundation of a normally dry area caused by an increased water level in river, lake, or stream.  Differs from a flash flood in that a flood usually occurs after heavy or steady rain over a period of a few days; longer lasting and generally more destructive than a flash flood.