A “severe” thunderstorm contains, one inch or greater, winds gusting in excess of 50 knots (57.5 mph), or a tornado.

What is severe thunderstorm

Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year, and at any given moment, there are roughly 2,000 thunderstorms in progress

There are about 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the U.S. alone. About 10% of these reach severe levels.

The greatest severe weather threat in the U.S. extends from Texas to southern Minnesota.

Severe thunderstorm warning issued by meteorologists who watch a designated area 24/7 for severe weather that has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.

Warnings mean there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the storm. A warning can cover parts of counties or several counties in the path of danger.

The concern the National Weather Service is, if the folks do not know what one is, they are less likely to take heed of its dangers.

Thunderstorm to be considered severe, it must create at least one of the following:
1. Hail- that is one (1) inch in diameter or larger.
2. Winds of 58 miles per hour (mph) or greater.

Hail is a dangerous product of thunderstorms. Once a hail stone is too big for the updraft to hold it up in the storm, it will fall to Earth.


Damaging winds from thunderstorms can come in two forms; tornadoes or straight line winds.