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Lightning Safety Precautions

When thunderstorms approach there are some steps you should take to lower your chance of becoming a lightning strike statistic. These safety procedures are suggested by the National Weather Service:
  • When a thunderstorm threatens, get inside a home or large building, or inside an all-metal (not convertible) vehicle
  • Inside a home, avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies
  • If outside, with no time to reach a safe building or an automobile, follow these rules
  • Do not stand underneath a natural lighting rod such as a tall, isolated tree
  • Avoid projecting above the surrounding landscape as you would do if you were standing on a hilltop, in an open field, on the beach, or fishing from a small boat
  • Get out of and away from open water
  • Get away from tractors and other metal farm equipment
  • Get off of and away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts and bicycles. Put down golf clubs.
  • Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails and other metallic paths which could carry lightning to you from some distance away.
  • Avoid standing in small isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
  • In a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees. In open areas, go to a low place such as a ravine or a valley. Be alert for flash floods.
  • If you're hopelessly isolated in a level field of prairie and you feel your hair stand on end - indicating that lightning is about to strike - drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground.
University of Virginia Climatology Office
Department of Environmental Sciences
291 McCormick Road
P.O. Box 400123
Charlottesville, VA  22904-4123

visits since January 20, 2000