Take Cover: How to identify dangerous storm features

Weather

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — For the past few weeks, the KFDX/Texoma’s Fox weather department has been looking at parts of thunderstorms through the eyes and lenses of storm chases, asking the question: Should you take cover during a storm?

Ben Jacobi likes big storms and taking pictures.

“I tell people I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid,” Jacobi said. “For me, it’s just about getting out there and experiencing the raw power that Mother Nature has.”

That includes Mammatus clouds.

“This is one of my favorite things to shoot because the entire anvil just light up in this really fiery glow,” Jacobi said.

Often near approaching or departing thunderstorms, Mammatus clouds are caused by cool heavy sinking air.

“So it creates these pockets and pouches that take on these really wild shapes,” Jacobi said.

They can also be a sign severe weather may be near.

“The clouds themselves aren’t dangerous,” Jacobi said. “The lightening strikes that were coming from it were very dangerous.”

Then, there are mesocyclone clouds.

“This is the area that is the constantly rotating updraft, ” Jacobi said. “This is the area that forms that hook echo and all those dangerous things that we know about of severe weather.”

Rising air, influenced by changes in wind speed and direction with height, create rotation within the storm.

“This is one of those things where you’re looking and your hair is standing up, ” Jacobi said. “Your instincnts are to run and I tell people once your instinct kicks in, you have two more seconds and then you have to leave.”

In other words, take cover.

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