Lightning is a serious hazard that occurs during thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.  More people die from lightning than any other storm related incidents.  When thunderstorms threaten your area, get inside a building or car (not a convertible) whenever possible.  Avoid bathtubs, water faucets, and other metal fixtures that can conduct electricity.  Avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies.

If your cannot make it to a building or car, follow these rules for safety:

  • 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 valley, but be alert for flash floods that can affect these areas.
  • Do not stand underneath a natural lightning rod, such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
  • 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, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
  • Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails, and other metallic paths, which could carry lightning to you from some distance away.
  • If you are isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates 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.

For more information about lightning and what to do when it occurs, please call the Florence County Emergency Preparedness Department at 843-662-7255.