First Alert Meteorologist Fred Hunter shares tips on how to stay weather ready

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 4:26 PM CDT
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ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Last Thursday’s storm caused significant damage, with several downed trees and over 1,800 people losing power. Although it was not a tornado, Meteorologist Fred Hunter says this heat mixed with strong straight-line winds can cause significant problems.

“That strong wind force actually can create damage over a wider area than, for example, a tornado,” says Hunter.

The Gadsden Etowah County EMA says last week’s storm produced winds that moved more than 60-70 miles an hour, and Hunter says these straight-line winds can come with some warnings.

“You feel the wind, and then the rain and then the hail. It is certainly time to take shelter because this is what can result, and we saw that, of course, last week in Etowah County,” adds Hunter.

These hotter temperatures can impact the storms we might see.

“A supercell thunderstorm,” explains Hunter. “What happens is you have inflow from the storm, that’s the warm, moist air rising, then out ahead of the storm, in addition to it being a hail producer, you get the gusty winds. A lot of times, a thunderstorm is moving in, and you feel that cool breeze. It’s almost like a miniature cold front. That’s the collapsing edge, the leading edge of the thunderstorm.”

Hunter says things can change, so it’s best to have multiple ways to receive weather notifications. Always ensure you’re ready to take shelter and tie everything down outside your home.

“Outdoor furniture, any outdoor objects,” adds Hunter. “For your garbage cans, things like that, be sure that they are secure because otherwise, these strong downbursts can produce property damage and threats as far as lives. Be sure outdoor furniture is secure and seek safe shelter.”

Again, Hunter recommends several ways to get those weather alerts, like your NOAA weather radio and our WBRC FIRST ALERT Weather App.

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