It’s summer, and here in Charlotte we’re not strangers to summer storms and lightning. But lately, the storms have been wilder than usual. Houses have been blown apart from lightning strikes. Trees fell on homes and across the road. Cows needed rescuing from barns.
The weather is getting more severe, and lighting strikes are a very real threat. What you were told as a kid about staying safe in bad weather is still true today. Since it’s easy to get complacent and think we’re always safe in our homes or cars, you may need a reminder about what to do when a summer storm arrives. Here are some tips to stay safe from lightning.
BEFORE THE STORM ARRIVES
There are different phases to staying safe around lightning. The first one is when you realize a storm is on the way. You may see dark clouds rolling in or hear thunder in the distance. Don’t ignore it. Now is the time to act.
- If you hear thunder, lightning can strike. Get to shelter immediately.
- Stay away from high places like the top of a hill or a mountain. Lightning looks for the closest thing to strike. The higher you are in the sky, the closer you are to lightning.
- Don’t hide under a tree. Trees are constantly struck by lightning.
WHEN THE STORM BREAKS
Now it’s raining with plenty of thunder and lightning all around you. Hopefully you’re safe and dry inside a sturdy building. Whether you are or aren’t, here’s what you need to know.
- Stay off the phone. Turn off the television. Power down your computer. If lightning strikes, you don’t want to be on anything electrical.
- Don’t take a bath or shower, wash dishes, or do the laundry during a thunderstorm. Avoid water until the storm passes.
- Do not lean on concrete walls or stand on concrete floors. Electricity is easily conducted through them.
- If you’re outside, do not lie flat on the ground. You’ll be more easily struck by the ground current even if lightning doesn’t hit you directly.
- Stay away from barbed wire fences, electrical lines, and anything that could conduct electricity.
- If you’re stuck outside when the storm breaks, keep moving towards shelter, even if it’s your car.
AFTER THE STORM
The threat isn’t over because the rain has stopped. The last thing to do, assuming you found shelter, is to stay put. Don’t leave until 30 minutes have passed since the last time you heard thunder. This will let you know that the storm and the danger from a lightning strike has truly passed. Just like at the beginning of the storm, if you can hear thunder, lightning is likely close behind.
Lightning can destroy homes and cars, close down roads, and injure or kill people. It’s much better to be safe and a little inconvenienced than to find yourself on the wrong side of a lightning strike. Take care of yourself during these wild Charlotte storms, especially in the summer when the added heat adds a certain spark (pun intended) to our usual storms.
If you want to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance coverage to cover you if your home is damaged in a storm, give us a call at Charlotte Insurance today. We hope you and your home never get struck by lightning, but if you do, we also want you to have enough insurance to help you pick up the pieces once the storm passes.