Thunderstorms & Lightning

Thunderstorm Facts

  • Every thunderstorm produces lightning
  • Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period from 30 minutes to one hour
  • Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development
  • About 10% of thunderstorms are classified as severe - one that produces hail at least 0.75" in diameter, has winds of 58 mph or higher produces a tornado

Lightning Facts

  • Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall
  • Heat lightning is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard; however, the storm may be moving in your direction
  • Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors during summer months during the afternoon or evening
  • Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately

Protective Measures

  • Get inside a home, building, or hard-top automobile. You are much safer inside a vehicle than outside
  • Rubber-soled shoes provide no protection from lightning
  • Avoid showering or bathing; Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items; Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage
  • Avoid tall, isolated trees, open areas, water, and anything metal, including motorcycles, golf carts, farm equipment, and bicycles
  • If outside, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees
  • Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley, but be sure to watch for flash flooding
  • If you feel your hair stand on end, which indicates that lightning is about to strike, squat low on 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.