What to Do During a Lightning Storm

Topics: Lightning, Lightning strike, Thunderstorm Pages: 3 (1049 words) Published: May 21, 2013
1. Understand what constitutes suitable shelter. The key to minimizing lightning danger is to get inside a protective structure. Substantial, frequently inhabited buildings (those grounded with plumbing, electrical systems, and, if possible, lightning rods) are best. Small structures, such as stand alone public restrooms, are generally not good choices, and standing under a tree is a very bad choice. If you can’t find a substantial structure, get in a car with a metal roof and sides: if the car is struck, the metal body will conduct the electricity around you, not through you 2. Be aware. Listen to the local weather forecast, and pay special attention to thunderstorm advisories. Research the local climate. Schedule your activities to avoid many high-risk situations. Those hot muggy days are just the thing that a thunderstorm needs to get going. 3. Watch the skies. When you’re out and about, watch the sky for signs of approaching thunderstorms, such as rain, darkening skies, or towering cumulonimbus clouds. Note that lightning can, however, strike even in the absence of these indicators. 4. Get to shelter as soon as you see lightning or hear thunder. Stay inside at least 30 minutes after the last strike. If you can detect lightning, it may be close enough to strike you. If conditions permit good visibility, and it’s not practical to seek shelter whenever you notice a strike, use the 30 second rule: if the time between a lightning flash and the resulting thunder is 30 seconds or less (aka 6 miles or less), get to shelter immediately. 5. Minimize your risk if you cannot reach shelter. If you are outside, move from higher to lower elevations. Avoid large open spaces where you are taller than anything else around you and stay away from isolated objects. Get out of and away from the water immediately. Get away from unprotected vehicles and unprotected structures. Avoid long metal structures. 6. Take last-resort measures if you’re stuck in a dangerous...
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