Sunday, July 19, 2009

More rain/Lightning Safety/What is a severe storm?

There is one area of disturbed weather east of the tropics. Odds of development are low. Looking at the long range steering pattern, I do see an important (if only temporary) shift coming up. According to at least one long range model--at the end of July, the ridge (which is now over the western US) looks like it will shift eastward so that it is positioned over the southeastern US. This is not good news for Texas as anything that moves/develops in the Caribbean/Gulf could be steered toward Texas. So, I will watch this very closely.

On Monday, the ridge continues to bring 100+ weather to the southwest, Intermountain Region and interior Oregon. West coast of California will still be nice and mild with highs in the 70s and most of the northeast, Great Lakes, northern plains will have highs in the 70s and 80s. The southeast and Texas will have highs in the 80s and 90s. Look for some severe weather mainly in the central US. There will also be some thunderstorms in the southeast.

The Houston area has enjoyed beneficial rains this weekend. There were more rain totals over one inch on Saturday. As I write this, the totals are not final yet for Sunday. There will be scattered storms Monday in the Houston area. Highs will be in the low to middle 90s.

Let's do squat or agacharse, pronounced ah-gah-CHAR-say. In which type of weather, should you agacharse if you can't get to a safe shelter? See the answer in the AND MORE section.

Lightning has electricity and our bodies have electricity. In fact it's those little electrical impluses in our brain that fire when the brain is doing its work. You can stimulate the development and function of those neurological pathways by stimulating it and one of the best ways is through language learning. Give your kids this kind of stimulation. Order our award winning DVD, Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco, Volume 1 is just the ticket. Order your copy from You can also order from,,,,,, and For our English as a Second Language (ESL) version, go to

Thinking about stormy weather reminds me of a funny incident from when I worked at in TV weather. We were having tremendous thunderstorm activity--unbelievable amounts of lightning--like a strobe light. There were no severe thunderstorm warnings being issued by the National Weather Service because technically, this kind of storm did not meet the description of a severe storm. One viewer called and complained--asking why no severe thunderstorm warnings were issued. I told him that the storms did not meet severe criteria and he responded--but this storm has VERY SEVERE lightning. Well I had to agree with him on that one. But in case you were curious, here is the official definition of a severe thunderstorm pulled from the Storm Prediction Center web site:

The term severe thunderstorm refers to a thunderstorm producing hail that is at least penny size, 0.75 inches in diameter or larger, and/or wind gusts to 58 mph or greater, and/or a tornado. Although lightning can be deadly, the NWS doesn't use it to define a severe thunderstorm. If it did, every thnderstorm would be severe, by definition. Also, excessive rainfall may lead to deadly flash flooding, but heavy rain is not a severe criterion either. The flood threat is handled through a separate set of watches and warnings from your lcoal NWS forecast office.

For more information, go to their FAQ page.

Remember, if there is lightning, the safest place is in a non-metal structure--1st floor, away from windows and doors and stay out of the tube/shower, off land line phones and plugged in appliances. If you can't get indoors, a vehicle is a good alternative--just don't touch the metal parts of the car. If you can't get into a car, get to the safest low spot, away from water and tall objects. Squat down (with as little of your body in contact with the ground as possible), making yourself as small as possible.

Have a great week everyone!
Cecilia Sinclair
Wonder Weather Woman

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