Tornadoes are only one of many thunderstorm hazards. Others include:
- Lightning - Kills and injures hundreds annually and starts fires.
- Winds - Very strong, gusty winds can cause property damage.
- Rain - Heavy downpours may result in flash floods.
- Hail - May be very damaging to property and crops.
When a thunderstorm threatens, get inside a home or large building, or inside an all-metal (not convertible) vehicle. Listen to radio, television, or weather-alert radio for National Weather Service bulletins.
Practice the Flash-to-Bang measurement of lightning distance. This is the time from seeing the stroke to hearing the thunder. For each 5-second count, lightning is 1 mile away:
- 20 seconds - 4 miles away
- 15 seconds - 3 miles away
- At a count of 10 seconds, 2 miles, take immediate defensive actions.
If outdoors... Avoid water. Avoid metal objects such as electric wires, fences, golf clubs, machinery, motors, power tools, railroad tracks, etc. Unsafe places include: tents, golf cars, small open-sided rain shelters, or underneath isolated trees. Avoid hilltops and open spaces. Where possible, find shelter in a building or in a fully-enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck, or a van with the windows completely shut. If lightning Is striking nearby you should:
- Avoid direct contact with other people.
- Get into a ditch or a shallow depression.
- Remove all metal objects. Crouch down, feet together and hands on your knees.
If you're hopelessly isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end indicating lightning is about to strike... squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground.
If indoors ... Avoid water. Stay away from open doors and windows. Hang up the telephone and take off headsets during lightning storms. Lightning may strike electric and phone lines and induce shocks. Turn off and stay away from appliances, computers, television sets, power tools, etc. Stay inside until the storm is over.
If a nearby person is injured by lightning... give first-aid procedures if you are qualified to do so. An injured person does not carry an electrical charge and can be safely handled.
In an emergency call or send for help immediately - Call 9 - 1 - 1