Thunderstorms and lightning
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every one produces lightning
In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 are killed each year by lightning. Tornadoes, strong winds, hail, and flash flooding are some other dangers associated with thunderstorms. Flash flooding claims more than 140 lives each year. Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and cause wildfires.
May occur singly, in clusters, or in lines
Some of the most severe occur when a single storm affects one location for an extended time
Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
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 58mph or higher, or produces a tornado.
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.
Most lightning deaths occur outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
Your estimated chances of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 600,000
Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
Severe thunderstorm watch
Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur
Watch the sky and stay informed
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.
Before a thunderstorm.
Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that can fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
Postpone outdoor activities
Get inside a home, building or hard top automobile
You may still be injured by lightning in a car but are still much safer inside it than out. Unless there is a tornado. Then you should get out of the car and lay flat in a depression or ditch.
Rubber shoes and tires provide no protection from lightning
However the steel of an automobile will provide increased protection if you are not touching metal
Secure objects that may be blown away or cause damage
Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close windows blinds, shades, or curtains
Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity
Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular phones are safe to use
Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surged can cause serious damage
Use a battery operated radio to stay informed.
Natural lightning rods such as tall, isolated tree in an open area
Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water
Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
Anything metal, tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, and bicycles
Remember the 30/30 lightning rule
Go indoors after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors 30 min after hearing last clap of lightning
If you feel your hair stand on end immediately squat low on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground.
DO NOT lie flat on the ground.
First aid and lightning
Check for breathing, if no breathing begin mouth to mouth resuscitation
If the heart has stopped, begin CPR
If the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other injuries. Check for burns where lightning has entered and left the body. Be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing and eyesight.
Remember that a lightning strike victim carries no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
During a thunderstorm be prepared to bug in either at home or current location.
Be prepared for power loss and possible utility interruption. Along with lightning remember that a thunderstorm can also bring high winds, hail, flash flooding and tornados. Stay informed and act accordingly.