We've all heard a variation of the saying “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” The saying originates because thunder is actually a byproduct of a lightning strike. When a bolt of lightning travels from a cloud to the ground the air around the bolt becomes super heated and expands rapidly. The air then rapidly compresses and explodes outward creating a loud, booming shock wave known as thunder. If you hear thunder you are close enough to a thunderstorm to be stuck by lightning!
Tips For You: In 2013, lightning accounted for 23 deaths in the U.S., down from 28 in 2012 and the 30-year average of 53. That number can be reduced even more by knowing how to avoid lightning and what to do if you are stuck outside during a thunderstorm. These tips will help keep you safe:
- If you hear thunder go indoors right away. This is one of the safest places to be during a thunderstorm.
- DO NOT stand under tall objects like trees. Lightning usually strikes taller objects and if you’re standing near one the electricity could jump to you as well.
- Avoid water. If you are swimming at the time when you hear thunder get out immediately and seek shelter.
- Avoid being out in any open areas such as fields, parking lots or golf courses. In theses areas you are the tallest thing around and the easiest target for a lightning strike.
- Find a ditch to lie in if possible.
- If you cannot find a ditch try to make yourself as small as possible.
- Crouch down with your head between your knees.
- Find a car and get in it.
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