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More thunderstorm information:

Lightning capital
of the world

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Emergency checklist

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Weather Links

Times photo by ERIC PARSONS
Severe weather threatens Hillsborough County. This is a view of the storm from downtown St. Petersburg on Tampa Bay
Are you ready for a thunderstorm?

Here are some tips to safeguard yourself and family from the effects of a severe thunderstorm.

Before lightning strikes

Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.

When a storm approaches

Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.

Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.

Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job!

Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blow by the wind the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

If you are caught outside

If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!

Go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects.

Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding

Be a very Small target!

  • Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible.
  • Do not lie flat on the ground -- this will make you a larger target!

After the storm passes

Stay away from storm-damaged areas.

Listen to the radio for information and instructions.

If someone is struck by lightning

People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.

Call for help. Get some one to dial 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number.

The injured person has received an electrical shock and may be burned, both where they were struck and where the electricity left their body. Check for burns in both places.

Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR.

Source: American Red Cross


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