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Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Severe Lightning Safety Tips
If Caught Outside in Severe Lightning
Care for an Apparent Lightning Victim
Post Thunderstorm Activities



Some thunderstorms can be seen approaching, while others hit without warning. It is important to learn and recognize the danger signs and to plan ahead.

Tornadoes are spawned by thunderstorms and flash flooding can occur with thunderstorms. When a "severe thunderstorm warning" is issued, review what actions to take under a "tornado warning" or a "flash flood warning."

You actually can estimate the distance from a thunderstorm. Because light travels much faster than sound, lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard. Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by five.

Important: You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. Knowing how far away a storm is does not mean that you're in danger only when the storm is overhead.

Hail is produced by many strong thunderstorms. Hail can be smaller than a pea or as large as a softball and can be very destructive to plants and crops. In a hailstorm, take cover immediately. Pets and livestock are particularly vulnerable to hail, so bring animals into a shelter.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

A severe thunderstorm watch is issued by the National Weather Service when the weather conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm (damaging winds 58 miles per hour or more, or hail three-fourths of an inch in diameter or greater) is likely to develop. This is the time to locate a safe place in the home and tell family members to watch the sky and listen to the radio or television for more information. 

Severe Thunderstorm Warning
A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a severe thunderstorm has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. At this point, the danger is very serious and everyone should go to a safe place and turn on a battery-operated radio or television to monitor the conditions. 

Severe Lightning Safety Tips

Get inside a home, large building or car.
Stay away from the telephone.
Stay away from bathtubs.
stay away from water faucets.
Stay away from sinks.
Stay away from metal Objects.


If Caught Outside in Severe Lightning

Do not stand underneath a tall tree in an open area. 
Do not stand on a hilltop, in an open field, or on the beach.
Avoid metal sheds or structures. 
Stay away from open water. 
Stay away from tractors and other metal farm objects.
Stay away from motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles. 
Stay away from golf carts, put down golf clubs and remove shoes with metal cleats.
Stay away from metallic objects which could carry lightning to you from other metallic sources.
In a wooded area seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
In open areas, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.


Care for an Apparent Lightning Victim

Notify 911 
Administer CPR if necessary
Give first aid for shock 
Keep victim warm 
Stay with victim until medical help arrives. 


Persons struck by lightning receive a severe electrical shock and may be burned. However, they carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.

Post Thunderstorm Activities

Check for injuries. A person who has been struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge that can shock other people. If the victim is burned, provide first aid and call emergency medical assistance immediately. Look for burns where lightning entered and exited the body. If the strike cause the victim's heart and breathing to stop, give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until medical professionals arrive and take over. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. If there are any downed utility lines, report them immediately. Exercise caution when driving.  Debris and washed-out roads may make driving dangerous.






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