Thunderstorms and lightning
Most thunderstorms pass without any serious consequences; if you are expecting a particularly heavy or prolonged storm you may want to take a few precautions. The Met Office gives the following advice for thunderstorms and lightning:
Before the storm
- pay attention to severe weather warnings issued by the Met Office
- unplug unnecessary electrical devices, including the TV; power surges could break them
- if you are outside, seek shelter where possible. If you can hear thunder you are within range of the next lightning strike
During the storm
- avoid using a landline phone - telephone lines can conduct electricity
- avoid taps, including showers - water and metal pipes can conduct electricity
- if you are outside, avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles and metal objects
- avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing, or boating on a lake
- be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning
- if you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to
- squat down
- place your hands on your knees
- tuck your head between them
- try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible
- do not lie down on the ground in an exposed location
- if you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above squat position immediately.
After the thunderstorm
- do not touch electrical/telephone cables that are hanging loose
- if someone is struck by lightning, they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse.
Driving in a thunderstorm
If you are caught out in thunder and lightning it is advised that you wind up the windows and stay inside your car; the metal frame will act as a cage and pass the current around the passengers and on to the ground.