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Thunderstorms with quarter-sized hail and damaging winds will hit Henry and Houston counties Monday

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued at 4:05 p.m. Monday by the National Weather Service, valid until 4:45 p.m. for Henry and Houston counties.

The storms contain wind gusts of up to 60 mph and quarter (1 inch) hail.

“At 4:05 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Webb, 8 miles southeast of Headland, moving east at 20 mph,” according to the weather service. “Hail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding and trees.”

Locations affected by the warning include Headland, Blakely, Dothan, Kinsey, Ashford, Cowarts, Webb, Columbia, Newville, Haleburg, Tumbleton, Kirkland Crossroads, Sigma, Grandberry Crossroads, Enon, Rock Hill, Barber, Pleasant Plains, Headland Municipal A/ P and Farley nuclear power plant.

The weather service adds: “For your protection, move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building. Large hail, damaging winds, and continuous lightning from clouds to the ground occur with this storm. Go indoors immediately. Lightning is one of the main killers of nature. Remember, if you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Preparing for Approaching Lightning: Expert Safety Tips

Each year, lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times, with the majority of these electrifying events occurring during the summer months. Unfortunately, lightning is responsible for the deaths of approximately 20 people each year, as reported by the weather service. The threat of lightning becomes more pronounced as storms get closer, peaking when the storm is directly overhead and gradually diminishing as it moves further away.

To ensure your safety in the middle of a storm, consider the following recommendations:

1. Lightning protection plan:

  • When venturing outside, it’s essential to have a clear plan for shelter in the event of lightning.
  • Stay vigilant by monitoring the sky for ominous signs and listening for the telltale sound of thunder. If thunder is audible, it is a clear indication that lightning is nearby.
  • Find a safe place to shelter, preferably indoors.

2. Indoor safety measures:

  • Once indoors, avoid using corded telephones, electrical appliances, plumbing fixtures, and stay away from windows and doors.
  • These precautions help reduce the risk of electrical surges because lightning can follow conductive paths.

3. Wait for the green light:

  • After the last flash of lightning or thunder, wait at least 30 minutes before resuming your outdoor activities.
  • It’s important to remember that lightning can strike even when a storm appears to have passed, so be careful.

When indoor shelter is not available:

If you find yourself outside without access to indoor shelter during a thunderstorm, follow these steps to maximize your safety:

  • Avoid open fields, hilltops or ridges, as they put you at greater risk of lightning.
  • Avoid large, isolated trees and other prominent objects. In forested areas, stay near lower stands of trees.
  • If you are in a group, make sure individuals are spread out to prevent lightning current from transferring between people.
  • It is strongly recommended not to camp in an open environment during a storm. If there is no alternative, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low-lying area. Remember that a tent offers no protection against lightning.
  • Do not approach bodies of water, wet objects or metal objects. Although water and metal do not attract lightning, they conduct electricity efficiently and can pose significant risks.

In summary, when faced with the threat of lightning, vigilance and preparation are your best allies. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of lightning-related accidents and prioritize your safety.

Rainy Roads Ahead: Essential Safety Tips in Heavy Rain

In case of heavy rain, safety is paramount. Equip yourself with these guidelines from the weather service to navigate wet roads and avoid dangers:

Beware of swollen waterways:

  • Avoid parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches, as fast-moving water during heavy rains can potentially wash you away.

Maintain safe driving distances:

  • The two-second rule for tracking distance is your friend in heavy rain. Extend it up to four seconds to ensure safe spacing in adverse conditions.

Reduce speed and drive carefully:

  • If it’s raining and the roads are wet, slow down. Take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed gradually decrease. Never use the brakes abruptly as this could cause the car to skid.

Choose your path wisely:

  • Stick to the middle lanes to minimize the risk of hydroplaning. Exterior pathways are more prone to water accumulation.

Prioritize visibility

  • Improve your visibility in heavy rain by turning on your headlights. Be wary of vehicles in blind spots, as rain-stained windows can obscure them.

Be careful of slippery roads:

  • Be very careful during the first half hour after the rain starts. Dirt and oil on the road surface mix with water to make the road slippery.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

  • Large trucks and buses can reduce your visibility with tire spray. Avoid tailgating and pass them quickly and safely.

Pay attention to your windshield wipers:

  • Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen from a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to subside. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas.
  • If the side of the road is your only option, move as far away as possible, preferably beyond the end of a guardrail, and wait for the storm to pass. Keep your headlights on and turn on the hazard lights to alert other drivers of your location.

By following these safety measures, you can significantly reduce the risks and ensure your well-being during heavy rain. Stay informed about weather conditions and heed advice from local authorities to make your trip safe and sound.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.