EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While they don’t happen that often, severe thunderstorms are always a threat during the summer months.

To be classified as “severe,” a storm must have winds of at least 58 miles per hour or hail that is one inch across or larger. In some cases, a storm can have both.

To put it simply, a severe thunderstorm is one that causes damage.

Storm Ready: Thunderstorm Safety » | How to Avoid Being Struck by Lightning »

Courtesy: Hurricane Hunters

Tornadoes tend to grab more headlines, but straight-line winds from severe thunderstorm downdrafts are much more common.

According to the national Storm Events Database, there have been 182 reports of straight-line wind damage in Rhode Island since 2000. During that same time, there have only been five tornadoes.

Storm Ready: Tornadoes and Straight-Line Winds » | Breaking down the severe thunderstorm risk categories »

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Weather Week: Exploring Summer Threats » | More Storm Ready Resources »

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