Dangers associated with thunderstorms include:
- Strong winds
- Flash flooding
Every thunderstorm produces lightning. Lightning is one of the top storm-related killers in the United States. Most lightning victims survive, but those who've been struck by lightning report a host of long-term, debilitating symptoms as a result. Flooding is another thunderstorm-related hazard that many fall victim to each year.
Thunderstorm safety tips from Ready.gov:
To prepare for a thunderstorm:
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard-top automobile.
- 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.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
If a thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area:
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Avoid hilltops and open fields.
- Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Avoid contact with anything metal—motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 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.
After the storm passes:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.