Staying Safe from Thunderstorms

Originally published Feb. 3, 2016 4:41 p.m.

When we talk about severe weather, what does that mean? A thunderstorm is considered “severe” when it causes wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour or hail at least one inch in diameter—that’s about the size of a quarter. If the National Weather Service believes a thunderstorm is capable of producing one of these conditions, they will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the area affected.

[Related: What’s the Difference Between ‘Isolated’ and ‘Scattered’ Storms?]

To avoid the threat from thunderstorms, remember to WATCH the weather. Check the weather forecast frequently. Also, be sure to check out the current weather in your area before participating in outdoor activities.

The second tip to staying safe is to LISTEN. If you hear thunder, go inside. That means the storm is close enough to you that you could possibly be struck by lightning. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last rumble of thunder.

Finally, RUN for cover! Thunderstorms can develop quickly. If a thunderstorm develops while you’re outside, go inside immediately. If there’s no building nearby, try to get in an automobile and close the doors and windows.

Remember to take all thunderstorms seriously, regardless of how strong they are, because it only takes one lightning strike to make all the difference.

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