Thunderstorms can bring heavy rains, strong winds, hail, lightning and tornadoes. Lightning is major threat in a thunderstorm. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.

Make sure your family knows how to respond to a thunderstorm.

  • Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning)
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any purpose. Metal pipes can transmit electricity.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in costly repairs.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent the spray of glass into your home.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees. If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter.
  • If you are outside, go to a low-lying place away from trees, poles and metal objects. Make sure the place is not subject to flooding.
  • Be a small target. Squat low to the ground. Kneel or crouch with hands on knees. Do not lie flat on the ground.

How do you estimate the distance from a thunderstorm?

  • Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by five. Knowing how far away the storm is does not mean that you’re in danger only when the storm is overhead!

A person who is struck by lightning carries no electrical charge and can be handled safely. If the victim is burned, provide first aid and call 911. Look for burns where the lightning entered and exited the body. Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight. If the heart has stopped, CPR should be started until medical professionals arrive.