A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep you and your family safe during thunderstorms:
- Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms.
- Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household.
- Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail
- Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm.
- Make trees and shrubbery more wind resistant by keeping them trimmed and removing damaged branches.
- Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home.
- Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods.
- Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit .
- Review the Be Red Cross Ready - Thunderstorm Safety Checklist at redcross.org/preparedness.