Lightning and Thunderstorm Preparation and Safety

Which states are the five most prone to lightning strikes in America?

Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Avg. # of days per year of thunderstorms

The top six most prone states (in this order) are Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can:


  • When thunder roars, go indoors!
  • Move from outdoors into a building or car.
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Do not use landline phones.


Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  • Create an emergency plan so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from the effects of a thunderstorm.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
  • Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive DURING

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
  • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
  • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Golf course green hit by lightning


  • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
  • Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately.
  • If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

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  1. Weather, small world. My wife and I use a Weather Radio, receive warnings from a subscription service we pay for (Weather Call), and I visit the Storm Prediction Center Daily in months when Severe Convective Weather is common in this area.
    Convective weather is Thunderstorms, Tornados, Wind, and Hail.

    Storm Prediction Center – Today’s Convective Outlooks

    Forecasts run until 8:00 AM EDT, then the next day’s forecast begins.

    At this evening writing, the page lists Current Day 1, Current Day 2, Current Day 3. Current Day 1 is until 8:00 AM EDT tomorrow. If I look tomorrow at 6:00 AM, there will also be a Valid Day 1, which is the carry over from today (i.e. the previous day), Valid until 8:00 AM EDT, then the Valid Day 1 Disappears. It’s not confusing in use.

    In addition to the Forecast Map of the Entire Country, States also have Forecast Maps.

    This is my Blog on these pages. The National View links are at the bottom. The 3 columns of links have the State Maps.


    Go to the Storm Prediction Center, click on Current Day 1, and notice on the Map in the upper left corner are tabs with Categorical, Tornado, Wind, and Hail. Click on (or Mouse over I think), or touch each. The Map changes to the Forecast Risk for each category.

    Categorical pertains to the overall risk. General, Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, Moderate, and High. A 2% or 5% Chance of Tornados sounds low, but it’s higher than most realize.

    Buy a Weather Radio. We use a Reecom Model, about forty dollars, but there’s many fine models. Learn to use it. SAME = Specific Area Message Encoding reduces alerts you’ll receive for adjacent counties. We take a Weather Radio on vacation with us.

    Ironically, Pittsburgh Area Weather Radio Transmitter is down due to a broken phone line from Construction. It’s been down since at least Tuesday, when we had severe weather but no notifications. This is not the norm, we do miss it being on guard, so to speak. It’ll be back up at some point, I’m surprised they haven’t found a temporary solution.

    Safest Place during a Tornado

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of my responsibilities at HEB Foods/Drugs for over 25 years was emergency management. During hurricanes or other severe weather events, much of Texas depended on us for food, Rx, banking, etc.
      We mitigated potential destruction in various ways (hurricane shutters, sandbagging flood prone areas, tanks of fresh water, huge generators and dumpsters, etc). As citizens were advised to evacuate, our crews were permitted by the State to go toward and into the storms. Our crews were safely sheltered.
      ASAP, we would bring in a specially equipped convoy with groceries, water, banking by satellite capabilities, a portable pharmacy and other essentials.
      Those were glory days in my career. I manned a command center that looked like it was out of NASA with large screens providing weather, news, live stream video from our stores (I could see interior/exteriors & remote shots from our crew).
      This was invaluable to access damage & estimate material/resources.
      Like you, even today we use weather radio at home on our journeys. Crank up & solar availability of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m flustered with the Pittsburgh Weather Radio, they’ve been off the air since Tuesday or before. Phone line severed in Construction, I’ve heard. On Tuesday 05-03-2022, we had a tornado watch, a tornado polygon in the county, and a suspected tornado. No alerts went out by weather radio. Something is amiss in modern times. Since I have time to watch the Weather Radar, and since I subscribe to a Weather Notification Service, I felt safe. I’m appalled the system has been down this long.

    Nevertheless, I’ve found them, overall, to be highly reliable, reassuring, and worth the money and effort to learn to use them. We first bought one since we had a summer home, we rented year round, to the north of Pittsburgh. One night, as we slept, a tornado hit an adjacent town, EF-0 or 1, the town wasn’t far away. Strike 2 was on Lake Erie, a water spout landed very close to our motel. That’s when my interest in Weather Radios took off, and I still recommend them today.

    Interesting position you had, with HEB Food/Drugs. I tried to get one grandson to go into Meteorology, he has the intelligence (as I’m sure the others do), but I couldn’t hook his interests.


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