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Walnut-sized hail expected with thunderstorms in Denton and Wise counties Friday

An updated severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the National Weather Service on Friday at 5:39 pm in effect until 6:30 pm

The storms are packing walnut-sized hail (1.5 inches).

“At 5:39 pm, a severe thunderstorm was located over Denton, moving east at 20 mph. Another severe thunderstorm was located near Rhome, moving east at 20 mph,” says the NWS. “People and animals outdoors will be injured. Expect damage to roofs, siding, windows, and vehicles.”

The thunderstorm is projected to affect the following locations:

• Denton around 5:45 pm

• Cross Roads around 5:50 pm

• Aubrey and Krugerville around 5:55 pm

• Prosper and Celina around 6:10 pm

Other locations impacted by this severe thunderstorm include Oak Point, Providence Village, Ponder, Stony, Lewisville Lake, Bolivar, Lincoln Park, Dish, Marshall Creek, and Lakewood Village.

This warning is in effect until 6:30 pm

What to do as threat of lightning approaches?

Around 25 million lightning strikes occur in the United States every year, with most taking place during the summer months. The NWS reports that these strikes resulted in about 20 fatalities annually. The probability of lightning strikes rises as a thunderstorm approaches and peaks when the storm is directly above. As the storm moves away, this likelihood decreases.

Here are tips on how to stay safe during a thunderstorm:

• To lower the risk of lightning strikes, when going outdoors, develop a plan to reach a safer spot.

• If the sky becomes menacing and thunder becomes audible, seek out a safe place to seek shelter.

• Once inside, avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, and windows and doors.

• Wait for 30 minutes after the last lightning or thunder before going back out.

If finding indoor shelter is not an option:

• Avoid open fields, hill peaks, or ridge tops.

• Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.

• If you are in a group, disperse to prevent the current from passing between group members.

• If you are camping in an open setting, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low spot. Bear in mind, a tent does not protect you from lightning.

• Stay away from water, wet items, and metal objects. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity.

Rainy weather driving tips

• Turn on headlights — Even in daylight, using headlights can help improve visibility and let other drivers know where you are.

• On the road — Drive in the middle lanes and stay on high ground. Rainwater tends to stockpile on the edges of roads.

• Steer clear of puddles — Driving into puddles or low areas of rainwater can cause vehicles to hydroplane or skid out of control.

• Do not follow large vehicles closely — Large vehicles like trucks or buses can create a spray of water that can reduce your visibility.

• Steer clear of flooded areas — When coming to a flooded road, turn around and head back. Flash flooding currents are strong and can sweep drivers off roadways. Driving through deep water can also affect a vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems.

What is hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning is the term for when a vehicle begins sliding uncontrollably on wet roads.

This happens when water in front of the tire builds up faster than the vehicle’s weight can push water out of the way. The water pressure then causes the vehicle to rise and slide on a thin layer of water between the tires and the road, making the driver lose control. Hydroplaning is most commonly attributed to three factors:

1. Vehicle speed — When a vehicle’s speed increases, the tire-traction grip and ability to control the vehicle decreases. Drive at a reduced speed during wet weather.

2. Water depth — The deeper the water, the sooner a vehicle loses traction on the road. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is, even a thin layer can lead to hydroplaning.

3. Tire tread depth — Checking your tire tread before hitting the road is important, as low or no tread can lead to sliding.

In the event of your vehicle hydroplaning, here’s what to know:

• Ease off the accelerator — Step off the gas to slow down the vehicle until the tires find traction.

• Turn into the skid — Turning into the skid can help the vehicle’s tires realign to regain control.

• Make sure the tires reconnect with the road — During the skid, wait until the tires reconnect with the road and then gently straighten the wheels to regain control.

• Brake as gently needed — Brake normally if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes and pump brakes gently if in an older vehicle.

Source: The National Weather Service

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