Thunderstorms might bring dangerous lightning, damaging winds, and flooding. While they occur mostly in the spring and summer months - primarily in the afternoon and evening hours - severe thunderstorms can happen almost any hour and any time of year. So it is important to:

Be prepared

  • Check local weather forecasts.
  • Watch for warning signs of an approaching storm.
  • Plan ahead - know where you will take shelter in case of a storm.

Know what to do

  • Stay indoors. If a suitable building is not available, get inside a vehicle with a steel roof. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
  • Stay away from tall structures such as towers, fences, telephone poles, or power lines and avoid contact with water, appliances, metal objects, or other conductors of electricity.
  • Boaters and swimmers should immediately go ashore and take shelter, well away from the water.
  • In the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. Make yourself the smallest target possible. Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet with your head between your knees. Do not lie flat.
  • At home, do not take a shower or bath. Current from a lightning strike can travel through water pipes.
  • Do not talk on a hard-wired telephone during the storm. Telephone lines can conduct electricity, too.
  • Unplug air conditioners and other major appliances to protect them from lightning strikes.

Stay informed

  • Tune to a local radio or TV station for storm information.
  • Be aware of severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flood watches/warnings that may be issued. Watches tell you when and where severe weather is likely to occur; warnings are issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.

For more information, check the National Weather Service Severe Weather Information* site.

Still need help?
Contact us with your questions.


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