About 10% of the thunderstorms that occur annually in the United States are classified as severe. Even those that are not can be dangerous. Lightening in particular is a threat, though it may seem that a thunderstorm is miles away.
Terms to Know
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
- This means that severe thunderstorms are likely to occur.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
- This means that severe thunderstorms have been spotted, and people in the path of the storm are in danger.
Before Thunderstorms Strike
During a Thunderstorm
- Cut down dead trees and clear branches from around your home.
- Secure loose outdoor objects such as patio furniture
- Shutter the windows and secure the doors.
If You Are About to be Struck
- Get or stay inside if, after seeing lightening, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder.
- Do not shower or bathe.
- Do not use a corded telephone, except in an emergency. Cell phones are cordless phones are OK to use during a storm.
- Unplug electronics and turn off air conditioners.
- If outside in a wooded area, take shelter under a thick growth of small trees.
- If outside in an open area, move to a low spot such as a ravine or valley - but beware of flash flooding.
- Never stand under a tall, isolated tree, on a hilltop, in an open field, on the beach or near open water.
- Stay away from metal equipment and apparatus such as fences, tractors, pipes and bicycles.
- If swimming or boating, get out of the water immediately and take shelter.
- Feeling you hair stand on end means lightening is about to strike nearby. Make yourself into a small target.
- Squat down on the balls of your feet - do not lie flat on the ground.
- Place your hands over your ears and tuck your head between your knees.