(WTVM) - Thursday's Severe Weather Preparedness week subject is lightning safety. Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather deaths in the United States.
Most fatalities happen in the summer months when people are more likely to be outside and thunderstorms occur more frequently.
Being outside at any time during a thunderstorm is very dangerous. Even when skies are blue if you hear thunder you're close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning.
The National Weather Service's motto is "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors."
What should you do to protect you and your family from lightning?
- When thunder roars, go indoors! If you can hear thunder, you are already at risk.
- If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm you should not stand next to things like trees or light poles as lightning usually strikes the tallest object in the area. Make yourself a very small target by squatting low to the ground.
- If you’re out on the water get to land as quickly as possible and try to find an indoor shelter.
- Check the forecast for thunderstorms and consider postponing outdoor activities if severe weather is in the forecast
- Monitor the weather. Watch for darkening skies, distant thunder and increasing winds.
- Enclosed vehicles are generally safe, if you avoid contact with metal surfaces.
- When inside during a thunderstorm don’t use a telephone or other electrical equipment unless in an emergency
- Do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm
- Stay indoors until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
Storm Team 9 wants you to know that heat lightning is not a specific type of lightning. What you see off in the distance is a thunderstorm too far away to actually hear the thunder.
The WTVM Weather app has a feature where your phone will alert you if lightning is detected within six miles of your location.