Lightning safety tips

story snapshot

A thunderstorm doesn't need to be a severe thunderstorm in order to be dangerous.

In fact, every thunderstorm contains one deadly threat - lightning.

And in order to raise awareness about staying safe from lightning in thunderstorms, NOAA and the National Weather Service have declared this week to be Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

Since 2001, an average of 37 people have been killed every year due to lightning strikes. The majority of those have been people enjoying leisure activities like fishing and camping, things popular here in Northeast Wisconsin.

The first safety tip is the most basic: when thunder roars, go indoors. As soon as you can hear thunder you are close enough to be struck, even if the storm hasn't reached you yet.

When you do hear thunder, the best place to go is a study structure with plumbing or electricity, so the structure is grounded. If that isn't available, the next best place is in a metal-topped car with the windows up.

And if you have absolutely nowhere to go and you're caught outside, stay away from higher elevations and tall objects, including trees.

But the best way to stay safe from lightning? Checking the forecast before you head outside and planning accordingly.