Know Your Thunderstorms and Lightning Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an thunderstorm hazard:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur.
Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
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.
What to Do Before a Thunderstorm
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
· Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage
during a severe thunderstorm.
· Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning,
you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder.
Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
· Postpone outdoor activities.
· Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible).
Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
· Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However,
the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
· Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
· Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window 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 telephones are safe to use.
· Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners.
Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
· Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
IF YOU ARE IN A FOREST
Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
IF YOU ARE IN AN OPEN AREA
Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
IF YOU ARE ON OPEN WATER
Get to land and find shelter immediately.
IF YOU ARE ANYWHERE YOU FEEL YOUR HAIR STAND ON END
(Which indicates lightening is about to strike)
Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears
and your head between your knees.
Make yourself the smallest possible target and minimize your contact with the ground.
DO NOT lie flat on the ground.
Avoid the following:
· Natural lightning rods such as a 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, golf clubs, and bicycles.
What to Do After a Thunderstorm
Call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible.
The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
· Breathing - if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
· Heartbeat - if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
· Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries.
Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body.
Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing and eyesight.