Thunderstorm and lightning facts and tips

2017-02-22 06:01

To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

•Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

•Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.

•Postpone outdoor activities.

•Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.

•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 tyres 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. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.

Facts about thunderstorms

•Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.

•Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

•Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.

•About 10% of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher or produces a tornado.

Facts about lightning

•Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.

•Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 16 kilometres away from any rainfall.

•“Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away from thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.

•Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.

•Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be one in 600 000, but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.

During thunderstorms and lightning

If thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area, you should:

•Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electricity for recharging. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are okay to use.

•Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

•Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

•Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

•Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

•Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.

•Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.

•Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

•Avoid contact with anything metal - tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles.

•If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the ve- hicle.

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