We’ll get straight to the point: “When thunder roars, go indoors.”
When thunder rumbles, lightning isn’t far behind. About 25 million times a year, lightning strikes the United States, according to the National Weather Service. Approximately 300 people per year are hit, and of those about 30 will die — many others are severely injured.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the chance of getting struck by lightning is about 1 in 500,000. Safety measures are invaluable in keeping you protected.
The weather service warns that no place outside is safe if you hear thunder — so go immediately inside. Once there, you must still be mindful of your surroundings and the present storm.
As storm season lights up the Midwest, here are a few tips to keep you safe when lightning strikes:
Is it dangerous to shower in a thunderstorm? And more
First thing, the CDC says “be prepared.” Check the weather before planning outdoor activities and ensure shelter is nearby. Once indoors, stay off corded phones (cellphones and cordless are OK), do not use computers or electronic equipment, stay away from plumbing, windows and doors.
Avoid leaning on concrete walls, the CDC said.
You should stay out of the shower (or bath) — and leave the dishes for later. The Centers for Disease Control warns people to stay away from plumbing if you’re indoors during the storm.
“Lightning can travel through plumbing,” the CDC said. “It is best to avoid all water during a lightning storm. Do not shower, bathe, wash dishes, or wash your hands.”
The weather service also highlights that lightning “will travel through the wiring and plumbing if your building is struck.”
If you are outside when the storm hits, “do not lie on the ground or seek shelter under a tree.” Leave elevated areas and stay away from water and other conductors.
Also: Do not seek shelter under a cliff or rocky overhang.
The best option for shelter is a fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing (though remember, avoid using it during the storm). The weather service also says hard-topped metal vehicles are safe. Stay off of porches and balconies and do not return outside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
Find additional safety tips from the CDC here. The latest weather and warnings from the National Weather Service in Kansas City can be found here.