Severe weather terms and definitions

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Why do we plan for severe weather in New York? Because New York receives all major forms of severe weather:
        -Tornadoes
        -Severe Thunderstorms
        -Flash Floods
        -River Floods

Several large severe weather outbreaks have affected New York. New York has received significant flooding throughout it’s history, many of which have been statewide.

River flooding is of particular concern, with many floods devastating the state. More weather-related fatalities are caused by floods than any other natural disaster.

Here are some definitions from NOAA that will help you better understand severe weather:

Watch vs. Warning

Watch – “Stand-by.” Conditions are favorable for severe weather in or near the watch area. Watches are issued for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. Issued by the Storm Prediction Center.

Warning – “Activated.” The severe weather event is imminent or occurring in the warned area. Warnings are issued for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and river flooding. Issued by NWS Binghamton for central New York and northeast Pennsylvania.

Types of severe weather

Severe Thunderstorms – A storm which produces hail 1 inch in diameter or larger and/or wind gusts 58 mph or stronger.

Tornadoes – A violently rotating column of air pendant from a thunderstorm and in contact with the ground.

Funnel cloud – A rotating, funnel-shaped (typically) cloud extending from a thunderstorm base. A funnel cloud is attached to the cloud base and does not reach the ground. It exhibits rapid rotation and is most often smooth in appearance.

Flash flood – A rapid rise in stream, creek and small tributary river levels, usually within 6 hours of a heavy rain event, or other factor such as a dam break or ice jam.

River flood – A flood that takes longer to develop (more than 6 hours) and often days or even weeks in some instances. Occurs on the larger rivers and lakes of our area.

For more, visit the NOAA Severe Weather website.

NewsChannel 34 is a proud ambassador of Weather Ready Nation, an initiative facilitated by the National Weather Service with the goal of reducing risk and increasing community resilience for extreme events. For more info, visit Weather Ready Nation’s website.

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