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More than 160 trees were uprooted when a thunderstorm ripped through Aviano with winds up to 90 mph Sept. 7, 2008. The storm caused more than half a million dollars in damage to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/MaryAnn Lauro)
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Preparing for Aviano's adverse weather season

Posted 7/30/2010   Updated 7/30/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Tabitha M. Lee
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


7/30/2010 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy  -- There is an old saying that nothing can be done about the weather. This is true; however, proper planning can alleviate some of the dangers and worries accompanied by dangerous weather.

"Aviano sees thunderstorms year round, but the majority occur during May and September," said Staff Sgt. John Lacroix, 31st Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster.

These storms can come with various dangerous components, such as high winds, hail and lightning.

Twice this year, Aviano has seen thunderstorms with winds up to 50 nautical miles per hour, lightning, heavy rain, and hail. Although Aviano has been spared, the summer is not over and more severe weather is expected before the season ends.

One of these severe weather conditions is called a microburst. A microburst is a brief, violent localized downdraft of air that creates extreme winds at low altitudes and is usually associated with thunderstorms. Aviano has seen a pattern of violent wind storms with microburst occurrences every two years. The last one occurred in 2008.
Understanding the potential dangers of these storms is critical to being able to prepare for them.

Storm safety tips:

· Secure outdoor items, cover vehicles, and have a meeting place for family members to keep damage and injuries to a minimum.

· If outside, seek shelter in the nearest hardened facility.

· Do not stand under trees or in open fields.

· When driving, try to exit the road safely, and stay in the vehicle until the storm has passed.

· Pay close attention to weather watches and warnings.

· Guidance on what to do during adverse weather can be found in Chapter 11 of the Air Force Consolidated Occupational Safety Standard 91-501.

Team Aviano is reminded to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan activities with that in mind.

"We are good at identifying characteristics of the atmosphere, but whether or not those things will happen is really a matter of right place and time," said Capt. Andrew Travis, 31st OSS Weather Flight commander. "You can have all the ingredients, but some days, it could be worse, and some days it could be less than what is expected. It is really a challenge."

Weather advisory announcements are broadcasted through the giant voice system and American Forces Network radio and television. The five day forecast can be viewed at http://ows.public.sembach.af.mil/index.cfm?section=5day&loc=liyw.

Keeping your eyes on the skies, knowing what is expected, and preparing for the unexpected will help keep Aviano safe during the adverse weather season.



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