A thunderstorm affects a relatively small area when compared to a hurricane or a winter storm. The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. Despite their small size, ALL thunderstorms are dangerous!
A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes.
Lightning Safety Rules
Inside a home, avoid using the telephone except for emergencies. Also, stay away from windows.
If you’re outside, get into a building or in an all-metal (not convertible) vehicle.
DO NOT stand beneath a tall isolated tree, or in an open area.
AVOID projecting above the surrounding landscape as on a hilltop, in an open field, or a beach, or fishing from a boat.
Move away from open water or from tractors or other farm equipment.
Get off and away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts, riding lawn mowers, and bicycles. Put down golf clubs.
Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails or other metallic paths which could carry lightning to you from some other distance away.
Avoid standing in small isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
In a forest seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees. In open area, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
If you feel your hair stand on end, this indicates that lightning is about to strike. Drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground.
Remember, there is no truth to the old myth that “lighting never strikes twice”.
Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.
Cancel or postpone sporting events and other outdoor activities when thunderstorms approach.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.