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Lightning Safety Tips & Myths


Lightning Safety Tips & Myths

If you do not see rain or a storm clouds, you are safe from lightning.
FACT: Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a thunderstorm! This is why it is important to seek shelter at the before a thunderstorm is near and stay sheltered until at least 30 minutes after the last roar of thunder.

MYTH: Lightning only strikes the tallest objects.
FACT: Lightning is random and can strike anywhere!

MYTH: Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice.
FACT: Lightning can strike the same place twice or more! Each year, the Empire State Building in New York City gets struck by lightning almost 100 times each year.

MYTH: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from a lightning strike.
FACT: Rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning!

MYTH: “Heat Lightning” occurs on hot summer days and isn’t considered a threat.
FACT: “Heat lightning” is a specific type of lightning from a thunderstorm that is too far away for any thunder to be heard, and a storm may be near.

MYTH: Jewelry and watches attract lightning.
FACT: Wearing jewelry or watching in a thunderstorm has no proven record of attracting lightning strikes. However, metal does conduct electricity. During a thunderstorm, it is recommended that you stay far way from any large metal objects, fences, railings, bleachers, etc.

MYTH: If caught outside during a thunderstorm, seek shelter under a tree.
FACT: Never hide under tree during a thunderstorm! This is the leading causes of lightning related fatalities.

Lightning Safety Measures

Stay Inside – Indoors is the safest place to be. Do not use wired devices, stay away from water pipes, faucets, and walls that have electrical wiring.

Head for a Car – If you are not near any sound structures, get in a hard-topped automobile and do not touch any part of the metal frame when inside.

If Outdoors – Distance yourself from tall objects, such as flagpoles, posts, or trees. Stay away from shorelines, railroad tracks, and metal fences.

Note: If you are unable to locate proper shelter, put your feet together, crouch down, grab your ankles, and tuck your head down as far as possible. Do not lie flat on the ground.

Lightning “Danger Zone” Warnings

Protecting yourself from lightning is about avoiding the locations where lightning can strike. Seek shelter immediately if you encounter the following:

  • Are near large raindrops or hail
  • See flashes
  • Hear thunder
  • See large, towering clouds
  • Hear static (crackling or popping) sounds on AM radio
  • See red, orange or yellow sections near you on weather radar (this indicates thunderstorms)


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