Thunderstorms & Lightning Awareness

Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can:

  • Include powerful winds over 50 MPH
  • Create hail and cause flash flooding and tornadoes
  • If you are under a thunderstorm warning, find safe shelter right away
  • When thunder roars, go indoors!
  • Move from outdoors into a building or car
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings
  • Unplug appliances
  • Do not use landline phones

How to stay safe when a thunderstorm threatens

  • Prepare now
    • Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
    • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
    • Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
    • Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
    • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.
  • Survive during
    • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
    • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
    • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
    • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
    • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
    • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
    • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal.
    • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Be safe after
    • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
    • Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately