Terms to Know

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch:  Issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in and close to the watch area.  The Watch is issued to alert you to the possibility that storms with damaging winds, lightning, and large hail may develop.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning:  Issued when a severe thunderstorm has been spotted and will move through your area soon.  Postpone outdoor activities if storms are imminent.

Act (During a Thunderstorm)

  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.  Go to safe shelter immediately.
  • Move to a sturdy building.  Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
  • If lightning occurs and sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep windows up.
  • Get out of boats and away from water.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.  Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information.  Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.  Use phones only in an emergency.
  • Do not take a bath or shower.
  • Turn off air conditioners — power surges from lightning can overload compressors.
  • Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible.
  • Do not attempt to drive to safety — most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.
  • If outdoors, find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under short trees.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stands on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet; place your hands on your knees with your head between them; make yourself the smallest target possible; and minimize your contact with the ground.