All thunderstorms produce lightning. Lightning has been the second largest storm killer in the U.S. for the last 40 years, exceeded only by floods.

Safety Tips

  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to harm you. Postpone outdoor activities promptly; don’t wait for rain.
  • If you hear thunder -- even in the distance -- move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings are best. Sheds, picnic tables, tents and covered porches do not protect from lightning. If no safe buildings are nearby, get in a car (with a hard metal top) and close all the windows.
  • Stay in shelter for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
  • Stay away from trees and tall objects -- lightning generally hits the tallest object.
  • If you are planning outdoor activities, know where to go for safety and how long it will take to get there. Consider moving activities inside if thunderstorms are predicted.
  • Don't use a corded phone, computer or other electrical equipment while it's thundering and lightning, except in emergency. Cordless and cell phones are OK.
  • Don't use any plumbing fixtures during a thunderstorm since water pipes conduct electricity. Avoid contact with water, including showering and doing laundry.
  • Avoid metal, such as golf clubs, fishing rods and tools.
  • Move away from groups of people.
  • Stay away from doors and windows, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

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