(WVNS) – Welcome to West Virginia’s Severe Weather Awareness Week! Your only, local, Weather Ready Nation Ambassador weather team, StormTracker 59, is participating in a week-long Severe Weather Awareness event hosted by the National Weather Service – Charleston. This is a series encompassing the entire work week dedicated to helping you be prepared for severe weather – something we see every year here in our region! Whether it’s damaging wind gusts, flooding, tornadoes, hail or something else, this week is dedicated to helping prepare you and your family for Mother Nature’s worst!

For Tuesday, March 21st, our topic takes a look at straight-line winds:

Straight-line winds

  • Definition: Non-rotational, non-tornadic winds associated with thunderstorms. Damaging winds are classified as wind at least 50 knots in speed (58 mph). These type of wind gusts can occasionally be quite significant, such as what happened during the June 29th, 2012 derecho, which caused 22 deaths and nearly 3 billion dollars in damage! Though rare, violent wind gusts in excess of 90 to 100 mph can occur with straight-line winds.
  • Causes: Thunderstorms, downbursts and derechos.
  • Damage: Damage in general from severe thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is far more common than damage from tornadoes. Anyone living in thunderstorm-prone areas are at risk for experiencing this kind of hazard.

The June 29th, 2012 derecho (Photo courtesy of Greg Carbin with the NWS/Storm Prediction Center)

Have you ever seen tree damage from thunderstorms where the trees are all blown down in the same direction? That’s a classic culprit of damaging straight-line winds.

Safety tips

  • Remain #WeatherAware in active severe weather situations.
  • Move indoors away from windows and exterior walls.
  • Have three ways to receive weather alerts.
  • Remain in a safe area during a warning until a warning expires.

The StormTracker 59 team has you covered to help keep you and your family safe when the threat for damaging wind gusts are possible! There are multiple ways of staying up to date with us on the latest warnings for our region that would indicate this potential threat:

  • On air on WVNS-TV 59 on CBS at 5 AM, 6 AM, 12 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM and 11 PM Monday through Friday and 6 PM and 11 PM on the weekends.
  • On air on WVNS-TV 59 on Fox at 10 PM Monday through Sunday.
  • Online on our website here, where you can see the latest watches, warnings, forecast discussions, videos, current data and so much more!
  • The StormTracker 59 mobile app, free on the Apple and Google Play.
  • The StormTracker 59 Facebook page and Twitter page.

After the storm, when safe to do so, your voice, photos, and video can be some of the best resources your local, state, and federal meteorologists have in determining what caused storm damage. It can even be the only look we have at what is going on at ground level when severe weather strikes. For StormTracker 59 we make sharing these easy via social media, email at weather@wvnstv.com, or our community photo album on our website. Weather Together is free and easy to share photos with us and your community. Try it out for yourself here.