SEVERE SUMMER STORM


Definition

A violent weather phenomenon producing high winds, heavy rains, lightning, and hail that causes injuries, damages or destroys property, crops and livestock.

Background

Thunderstorms are a violent form of convection. Convection is a process in which cold upper air sinks and warm, moist air rises. As the warm moist air rises, cumulonimbus clouds develop. These clouds turn into thunderstorms that bring strong winds, lightning, hail, and rain.

Lightning is the discharge of electricity within the storm cloud, and it always accompanies a thunderstorm. Statistics show that an average of 163 people are killed and 250 people are injured each year by lightning. Annual property loss to the U.S. is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hail is also a factor in causing property damage as well. Since 1993, statistics show that in Androscoggin County, there were 2 deaths, 31 injuries, and 2 million dollars in property damage.

High Winds are still another factor causing injuries and damage here in Maine. Since 1950, nearly 400 incidents of convective wind damage have occurred adding up to several million dollars of damage. Though frequently mistaken for tornado's, straight line winds from downbursts can cause considerable damage. One such incident occurred in July of 1973 in West Poland, near Agazziz Village (summer camp).

History

Poland lies within the area of the State that generally experiences 10 to 20 thunderstorm days annually.

Lightning killed one man in Poland, near Tripp Lake Camp in the 1970's. Several others over the years have been affected by nearby lightning strikes, particularly on Golf Courses.

On August 4, 1996, a group of golfers were nearly struck by lightning at the Fairlawn Golf Course. One man was hospitalized, and seven others were knocked to the ground due to the ground current.

Time of Year

June through September presents a threat to our area for severe summer storms. July and August provide the greatest risk.

Speed of Onset

Onset of a severe summer storm is gradual. Sufficient warning time will generally allow citizens to initiate necessary protective actions.

Duration of Event

Severe summer storms are a generally short lived phenomena usually lasting from minutes to several hours.

Area of Impact

The entire community will experience the storm, but lightning strikes and hail affect a specific area within the storm zone.

 

Return

Copyright 2002, Wayne Cotterly

Revised: 10/21/02