Lightning Storm Safety

North Carolina is known for its intense summer thunder and lightning storms. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning ranks as one of the top weather killers in the U.S., claiming nearly 30 lives per year and injuring hundreds of others.

Lightning Storm Safety Tips:

  • Use the correct light bulbs in all lamps and light fixtures. Look inside the light fixture and you will find a label that will tell you what wattage is right for that fixture. If you are using a compact
    fluorescent light (CFL) bulb, look at the package to determine wattage equivalents.
  • If a thunder or lightning storm is forecasted, monitor conditions regularly by a radio or television. Be sure to keep extra batteries for your radio in case the power goes out.
  • Stay alert. Typical signs of an oncoming lightning storm are towering clouds with a “cauliflower” shape, dark skies, and distant rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning.
  • Seek shelter. The best place to be during a lightning storm is in a large, enclosed building. Once you are inside, stay a few feet away from windows, sinks, electric boxes, outlets and appliances. Current from a lightning strike can travel through any of these objects.
  • Never shower or take a bath during a lightning storm. Utility lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.
  • Do not use a corded telephone during a lightning storm. If lightning hits the telephone line, it could possibly flow to the phone. Avoid using computers, too.
  • If you get caught in a lightning storm while you are in a car, stay in the car with the windows rolled up.
  • If you get caught outside, try to find a spot away from trees, metal fences, pipes and tall or long objects. Crouch down to the ground and try to make yourself shorter than other objects in the area.
  • If you are on a golf course during a lightning storm, seek shelter if possible. Stay away from your clubs, and if your shoes have metal spikes, take them off.
  • If you are in a boat during a lightning storm, get to land immediately. If you cannot get to land, crouch down in the very center of the boat.
  • Never swim during a lightning storm. The energy produced from lightning can be transmitted through the water to the people in it.