Don’t Underestimate The Threat Of An Incoming Lightning Storm

Posted on September 12, 2013

One type of weather phenomenon that too many people tend to underestimate is a thunderstorm.  But early on in the football season, we’ve already seen some college and pro games delayed due to worries about lightning striking the field.  Some question whether such precautions are necessary, especially when the lightning is still miles and miles away.

The truth is that these games are delayed and the fields kept clear for a reason.  The storm itself doesn’t have to be directly over the field in order to endanger people inside.  In fact, a single bolt of lightning can carry miles away from where it originates, and thus precautions have to be taken long before a storm is upon you.  With that in mind, consider some of the safety tips from FEMA if you’re ever caught up in an oncoming storm.

Keep track of the weather any time you’re going to be heading outdoors for an extended period of time, especially if there’s not going to be shelter nearby.  If a storm appears to be imminent, consider delaying your plans until it would be safe to go out.  If you’re wondering about the right time to actually seek shelter, FEMA recommends something known as the 30/30 Rule; basically, if lightning strikes and you hear thunder before 30 seconds pass by, you need to go inside at once.

When it comes to safety within your own home, you can protect yourself and your family by clearing your yard of anything that would could prove hazardous in the event of a thunderstorm.  Things like umbrellas and other decorations should be taken inside if a serious storm is oncoming.

As you’re doing fall yard work, it’s also a great time to trim any portions of trees that may have rotted since last year.  If branches are ready to fall, the danger will be exacerbated if lightning strikes, and real damage could then be done to your home and the occupants inside of it.

When you head inside, make sure to shut your windows and unplug and cease usage of electrical appliances.  That window tip goes for your automobile as well if you can’t get to your home.  A vehicle will provide protection during a lightning storm, but you have to make sure that the electricity can’t make its way inside via an opening.

Finally, realize that the chances of being struck by lightning are small but not impossible.  Taking the proper precautions can mitigate the risk, but if someone nearby is struck by lightning, make sure that they seek prompt medical attention.  That person won’t be charged up; you can touch them without fear of danger, and it’s imperative that you help them get to a doctor.

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