- They may occur singly, in clusters, or in
- Some of the most severe occur when a single
thunderstorm affects one location for an
- Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain
for a brief period, anywhere from 3 0 minutes to
- Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable
for thunderstorm development.
- About 10 percent of thunderstorms are
classified as severe—one that produces hail at
least three-quarters of an inch in diameter, has
winds of 58 miles per hour or higher, or
produces a tornado.
- Lightning’s unpredictability increases the
risk to individuals and property.
- Lightning often strikes outside of heavy
rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from
- "Heat lightning" is actually lightning from
a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be
heard. However, the storm may be moving in your
- Most lightning deaths and injuries occur
when people are caught outdoors in the summer
months during the afternoon and evening.
- Your chances of being struck by lightning
are estimated to be 1 in 600,000, but could be
reduced even further by following safety
- Lightning strike victims carry no electrical
charge and should be attended to immediately.
How Can I Protect Myself From a Thunderstorm or
Know your terms:
Familiarize yourself with
these terms to help identify an thunderstorm hazard:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to
occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to
NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or
indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to
life and property to those in the path of the storm.
What to do before a thunderstorm:
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could
fall and cause injury or damage during a severe
- Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors
if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30
before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes
after hearing the last clap of thunder.
The following are guidelines for what you should
do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile
(not a convertible). Although you may be injured if
lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a
vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires
provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel
frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased
protection if you are not touching metal.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If
shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades,
- Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom
fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Use a corded telephone only for emergencies.
Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
- Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as
computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges
from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for
updates from local officials.
Avoid the following:
- Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree
in an open area.
- Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the
- Isolated sheds or other small structures in open
- Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment,
motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
What to do during a thunderstorm:
|If you are:
|In a forest
||Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
|In an open area
||Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
|On open water
||Get to land and find shelter immediately.
|Anywhere you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike)
||Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact
with the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.
What to do after a thunderstorm:
Call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible.
The following are things you should check when you
attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
- Breathing - if breathing has
stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Heartbeat - if the heart has
stopped, administer CPR.
- Pulse - if the victim has a pulse
and is breathing, look for other possible injuries.
Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the
body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken
bones, and loss of hearing and eyesight.
Any Additional questions? Please click the logo to the
left to learn more.