A “Severe Thunderstorm Watch” tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to a radio or television for information. A “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” is issued when severe weather has been witnessed by spotters or by radar. A warning indicates danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. You should take cover immediately.
Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you can’t count to 30 before hearing thunder. If possible, stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. Stay alert to your surrounding and always use good judgment when making decisions that could have lasting effects on friends, families, and co-workers.
On the average, 90 people die each year in the United States from lightning strikes. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from lightning:
- Get inside a building immediately. If you have to stay outside, keep away from metal objects and stay below ground level. Avoid hilltops, open beaches, or fields; most importantly, stay away from open water and tall trees.
- Seek shelter inside your car. If you feel your hair standing on end, squat with your head between your knees. Do not lie flat.
- Avoid using the telephone or other electrical devices. Do not take a bath, shower or stand near plumbing.
- Go low and get low. - Go to the lowest level of the structure you are in. If you are at home when a tornado strikes, go to the innermost part of the home on the lowest floor such as a bathroom or closet, preferably an enclosure with no windows.