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Thunderstorm and Lightning Safety

lightningWarm, humid conditions during the spring and summer are favorable for the development of thunderstorms. Lightning that often accompanies thunderstorms has the potential to be life-threatening. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top storm-related injuries in the United States. By knowing what to do during thunderstorms, you can greatly increase your safety and the safety of those around you.

Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However, these storms have the ability to produce dangerous winds, hail, and lightning. In addition, they can cause flash flooding in rivers and streams, dry gulches, and in low-lying areas. If you hear the sound of thunder, then you are in danger from lightning. 

Stay Safe Outdoors
Be aware of the weather forecast and sign up to have alerts delivered to your mobile phone, should weather conditions change during your outdoor activity.

Pay attention to changing weather conditions, darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing winds.  If you are outdoors and hear the sound of thunder, don’t wait for the rain to begin, go indoors immediately. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from where it is raining. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring. Many small, open shelters on golf courses, parks and athletic fields are designed to protect people from rain and sun but not lightning.

If you cannot seek shelter indoors, avoid going near water, stay away from tall trees, and do not seek shelter near metal objects such as fences or bleachers. If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately

Stay Safe Indoors
Seeking shelter indoors during a thunderstorm is the best protection from lightning. While inside, stay away from windows and refrain from running water, using landline telephones or electrical equipment. Even though you are inside, lightning can follow conductors such as electrical wiring, plumbing and telephone lines that are in the ground. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

Protect your pets by bringing them inside the home or garage during thunderstorms.

Last Updated: 04-10-2013

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