Anyone who has lived in the East Mountain area more than a year knows it can get severe thunderstorms. A severe thunderstorm is defined as a thunderstorm that has one inch diameter hail (size of a quarter), and/or a 58 mph wind gust, and/or a tornado. I remember back on June 8, 2019 where golf-ball size hail (1.75” in diameter) fell at my house. Neither our vehicles or our house enjoyed that experience!

Even though severe thunderstorms can happen at any time during the year, they are most prevalent during June.

So how were these definitions developed? A tornado is obvious. Meteorologists consider hail the size of quarters to be “severe” because it is the minimum size required to produce damage relevant to most property in the United States, in particular, roof damage.

The wind damage threshold, on the other hand, is a legacy that is less about scientific research and more about preventing airplane crashes. Nevertheless, winds that gust to 58 mph can certainly cause tree and power line damage, as well as blow around loose objects outdoors and prove dangerous to some high-profile vehicles.

For the latest information on severe thunderstorm potential please see NWS Albuquerque at weather.gov/abq or The Storm Prediction Center at spc.noaa.gov.