Wind, Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Hazard Overview

Winter Storm

The types of Severe Winter Storms are the definitions used in the warnings NWS provides for this hazard type.  A life-threatening winter storm with snow, ice, strong winds, and/or cold temperatures. 

  • Heavy Snow is 6 inches of snow or more in 12 hours; or 8 inches of snow or more in 24 hours 
  •  Ice Storm: Ice accumulations that could cause extremely dangerous conditions and significant damage.
  •  Blizzard: A severe winter storm with winds 35 mph or greater AND significant snow or blowing snow with visibility less than 1/4 mile.


Severe Thunderstorms

Must have at least one of the following:

  • Wind gusts of at least 58 mph or higher, i.e., 50 knots
  • Tornado
  • Hail that is 1 inch or larger, i.e., the size of a quarter.

National Weather Service issues warnings when the winds from a thunderstorm are expected to be 58 mph (50 knots) or higher.



A violently rotating column of air touching the ground, usually attached to the base of a thunderstorm.


Severe Wind

Severe wind is a more troubling issue for Kentuckians than tornadoes. Straight-line winds are more frequent and do more damage ingloriously than tornadoes.

Link to the State Hazard Mitigation PlanWind, Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Risk Assessment.