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How to keep Safe in a Thunderstorm


Jane Louise

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Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    Just a repost from an earlier one of mine relating to this subject, both based on advice from the USA where they have far more than their fair share!

    1. Stay indoors, and don't venture outside, unless absolutely necessary.

    2. Stay away from open doors and windows, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks, and plug-in electrical appliances.

    3. Don't use plug-in electrical equipment like hair driers, electric toothbrushes, or electric razors during the storm.

    4. Don't use the telephone during the storm. Lightning may strike telephone lines outside.

    5. Don't take laundry off the clothesline.

    6. Don't work on fences, telephone or power lines, pipelines, or structural steel fabrication.

    7. Don't use metal objects like fishing rods and golf clubs. Golfers wearing cleated shoes are particularly good lightning rods.

    8. Don't handle flammable materials in open containers.

    9. Stop tractor work, especially when the tractor is pulling metal equipment, and dismount. Tractors and other implements in metallic contact with the ground are often struck by lightning.

    10. Get out of the water and off small boats.

    11. Stay in your automobile if you are traveling. Automobiles offer excellent lightning protection.

    12. Seek shelter in buildings. If no buildings are available, your best protection is a cave, ditch, canyon, or under head-high clumps of trees in open forest glades.

    13. When there is no shelter, avoid the highest object in the area. If only isolated trees are nearby, your best protection is to crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from isolated trees as the trees are high.

    14. Avoid hilltops, open spaces, wire fences, metal clotheslines, exposed sheds, and any electrically conductive elevated objects.

    15. When you feel the electrical charge-if your hair stands on end or your skin tingles-lightning may be about to strike you. Drop to the ground immediately.

    And from the Met Office:

    Make sure you know what to do:

    Before the thunderstorm

    Unplug all non-essential appliances, including the television, as lightning can cause power surges.

    Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur, lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the centre of a storm.

    During the thunderstorm

    Avoid using the phone - telephone lines can conduct electricity.

    Avoid using taps and sinks - metal pipes can conduct electricity.

    If outside avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects.

    Avoid activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake.

    If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible, do not lie down on the ground.

    If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately.

    After the thunderstorm

    Avoid downed power lines or broken cables.

    If someone is struck by lightning they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse

    I will add to that have your camera ready!!! (but still keep safe)

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

    Yes very interesting advice . I have a brilliant book called When lightning strikes .I have left it at the caravan lol.This book is american and states how to keep safe in a storm.It also tells a story about two mountaineers that got struck by lightning.Amazingly one survived and one sadly died.

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    This advice is aimed particulalry at the lightning photographers and was sourced from http://www.ukspeedtraps.co.uk/weather/lightningsafe.htm

    There is no way to take lightning photographs without risk. You will be standing near a metal tripod in a relatively exposed location in a thunderstorm.

    Lightning need not strike you directly to be dangerous; it can travel along power and phone lines, metal fences, or even through the ground to you. Lightning photography necessitates taking some risks, but being foolhardy is not recommended.

    Lightning is not predictable. You will not hear the flash that gets you! Sound travels about one mile in five seconds, so if the delay between the flash and the thunder is less than five seconds, the lightning is less than one mile away. When that delay time is less than five seconds, you should be thinking seriously about getting out of any exposed positions.

    Generally, it is safe inside your car, and you may be able to use a window clamp as a tripod and so keep merrily snapping away in relative safety. You definitely do not want to be under a tree, but there may be shelter nearby where you still can obtain lightning shots in a relatively safe position. Being in a doorway or under a carport is NOT a safe position ...

    Shooting while under thunderstorm anvils or near developing rain shafts can put you serious danger from that region of a thunderstorm. There is no reduction of risk associated with using a non-metallic tripod, wearing insulated shoes, or any similar measures.

    Lightning strike victims may not be killed outright, but their hearts and/or breathing may stop. Having someone around who knows CPR would be quite handy in such an event! They may have a headache (or other lingering effects, some of which can be pretty awful), but strike victims given CPR in time will be around to try again.

    Lightning Safety Outdoors

    All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. Lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes.

    Lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Many deaths from lightning occur ahead of the storm because people try and wait to the last minute before seeking shelter.

    You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough that it could strike your location at any moment.

    Lightning injuries can lead to permanent disabilities or death. On average, 10% of strike victims die; 70% of survivors suffer serious long term effects. Look for dark cloud bases and increasing wind. Every flash of lightning is dangerous, even the first. Head to safety before that first flash. If you hear thunder, head to safety! Blue Skies and Lightning. Lightning can travel sideways for up to 10 miles. Even when the sky looks blue and clear, be cautious. If you hear thunder, take cover. At least 10% of lightning occurs without visible clouds overhead in the sky.

    The Single Most Dangerous Place Outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a lightning storm. When lightning is seen or thunder is heard quickly move indoors or into a hard-topped vehicle and remain there until well after the lightning storm ends.

    Listen to forecasts and warnings through your local TV and radio stations. If lightning is forecast, plan an alternate activity or know where you can take cover quickly. In summer, more people are outside, on the beach, golf course, mountains or ball fields. Outdoor jobs such as construction and agriculture, and outdoor chores such as lawn mowing or house painting are at their peak, putting those involved in danger.

    What to do if someone is struck by lightning:

    • Call for help. Call 999 or your local ambulance service. Get medical attention as quickly as possible.
    • Give first aid. If the victim has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, address any other injuries.
    • Check for burns in two places. The injured person has received an electric shock and may be burned.
    • Being struck by lightning can also cause nervous system damage, broken bones, and loss of hearing or eyesight.
    • People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people. You can examine them without risk.

    DISCLAIMER - General statements made in this site should not be taken as recommendations for a specific course of treatment for any individual. Specific medical advice should be obtained through consultation with a physician or other trained health care professional.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

    Good advice.As you may remember back along I was quite scared when storms were due a couple weeks ago when I was in my caravan.I would love to see a storm from the caravan this weekend and i'm still deciding whether to go or stay at home.I have a better view all around the caravan of the hills and fields.I must say though that the caravan is only 6 yards away from a wired fence.I do remember you saying that its perfectly safe if I remain in the caravan though.

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    Posted
  • Location: Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
  • Location: Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
    Good advice.As you may remember back along I was quite scared when storms were due a couple weeks ago when I was in my caravan.I would love to see a storm from the caravan this weekend and i'm still deciding whether to go or stay at home.I have a better view all around the caravan of the hills and fields.I must say though that the caravan is only 6 yards away from a wired fence.I do remember you saying that its perfectly safe if I remain in the caravan though.

    Yes I don't think you can beat being in a caravan during severe weather Jane :)

    The sound of the hailstones/heavy showers is so much better, and the way the caravan has a tendancy to shake in the wind is great :lol:

    It feels like your are really amongst the weather compared with being inside a house.

    I have yet to experience a thunderstorm whilst staying in the caravan, but I must try it out, as I have one just outside the

    house which the kids use when they have friends over etc.

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
    I have yet to experience a thunderstorm whilst staying in the caravan, but I must try it out, as I have one just outside the

    house which the kids use when they have friends over etc.

    I imagine you could recreate the feeling in a horsebox GMG!!!!

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

    TOP 10 MYTHS OF LIGHTNING SAFETY

    1. MYTH: Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice

    TRUTH: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it's a tall pointy isolated object. The Empire State Building used to be used as a lightning laboratory, since it is hit nearly 25 times a year. Places prone to lightning are places to avoid when thunderstorms are nearby!

    2. MYTH: If it's Not Raining, Or If Clouds Aren't Overhead, I'm Safe from Lightning

    TRUTH: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or even thunderstorm cloud. 'Bolts from the Blue', though infrequent, can strike 10-15 Miles from the thunderstorm. Anvil lightning can strike the ground over 50 Miles from the thunderstorm, under extreme conditions. Lightning in clouds has travelled over 100 miles from the thunderstorm.

    3. MYTH: Rubber Tires Protect You from Lightning in a Car by Insulating You from the Ground

    TRUTH: Lightning laughs at two inches of rubber! Most cars are reasonably safe from lightning. But it's the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, not the rubber tires. Thus convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open shelled outdoor recreational vehicles, and cars with plastic or fibreglass shells offer no lightning protection. Likewise, farm and construction vehicles with open cockpits offer no lightning protection. But closed cockpits with metal roof and sides are safer than going outside.

    4. MYTH: A Lightning Victim Is Electrified. If You Touch Them, You'll be electrocuted.

    TRUTH: The human body doesn't store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning myths. Imagine someone dying needlessly, for want of simple CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, when their chance of survival was 90%!

    5. MYTH: If Outside in a Thunderstorm, Go Under a Tree to Stay Dry

    TRUTH: Being underneath trees is the second leading activity for lightning casualties – enough said?!

    6. MYTH: I'm In a House, I'm Safe from Lightning

    TRUTH: While a house is a good place for lightning safety, just going inside isn't enough. You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing (including plastic pipes with water in them), metal doors or window frames, etc. Don't stand near a window to watch the lightning. An inside room is generally best.

    7. MYTH: When Playing Sports and Thunderstorms Threaten, It's Okay To Finish the Game before Seeking Shelter

    TRUTH: Sports is the activity with the fastest rising rate of lightning casualties. No game is worth death or life-long severe injury. All people associated with sports should have a lightning safety plan and stick to it strictly. Seek proper shelter immediately when lightning threatens. Adults are responsible for the safety of children!

    8. MYTH: Structures With Metal, Or Metal On The Body (Jewellery, Watches, Glasses, Backpacks, Etc.), Attract Lightning

    TRUTH: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes virtually no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone, but receive many strikes each year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately. Don't waste time shedding metal off your body, or seeking shelter under inadequate structures. But while metal doesn't attract lightning, touching or being near long metal objects (fences, railings, bleachers, vehicles, etc.) is still unsafe when thunderstorms are nearby. If lightning does happen to hit it, the metal can conduct the electricity a long distance (even over 100 yards) and still electrocute you.

    9. MYTH: If Trapped Outside and Lightning Is About To Strike, Lie Flat On The Ground

    TRUTH: This advice is decades out of date. Better advice is to use the 'Lightning Crouch': put your feet together, squat low, tuck your head, and cover your ears. Lightning induces electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly over 100 Feet away. While lying flat on the ground gets you as low as possible, which is good, it increases your chance of being hit by a ground current, which is bad. The best combination of being low and touching the ground as little as possible is the 'Lightning Crouch'. But the 'Lightning Crouch' should be used only as a last resort. Much better would be to plan outdoor activities around the weather to avoid thunderstorm exposure and to have proper shelter available.

    10. MYTH: Go near a tall pointy isolated object when thunderstorms threaten, to be within the 45° "cone of protection"

    TRUTH: The "cone of protection" is a myth! While tall pointy isolated objects are statistically more likely to be struck by lightning, it's not nearly reliable enough to rely on for safety. Lightning can still strike you near the tall object. Besides, the lightning electricity will likely spread out along the surface of the ground and can still kill you over 100 Ft from the "protecting" object. Also, if you are close to or touching the tall object, you can be electrocuted via side flash or contact voltage. NO PLACE OUTSIDE IS SAFE NEAR A THUNDERSTORM! In lightning safety, a "myth" is not as good as a mile . Distance and proper shelter is your best protection from lightning.

    This list is for information only. No guarantee of lightning safety is stated or implied for this list. For a full description of personal lightning safety, see the Lightning Safety Group recommendations

    http://brentjh.blogspot.com/2006/12/top-10...ing-safety.html

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

    iPod Dangerous During Thunderstorm

    Ear Buds Conduct Lightning Through Ears, Head

    By Daniel J. DeNoon

    WebMD Health News

    Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

    July 12, 2007 -- Next time you're in a thunderstorm, skip the soundtrack on your personal music player.

    The reason isn't aesthetics -- it's safety. Case in point: the 37-year-old, iPod-wearing Canadian man described in the July 12 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

    The man's doctors, Eric J. Heffernan, MB, and colleagues say the man was jogging during a thunderstorm. A lightning bolt hit a tree that he was passing. As lightning often does, it jumped from the tree to the man in a phenomenon called a side flash, throwing the man 8 feet away.

    Fortunately for humans, skin has high resistance to electric current. Unless something interrupts the flow, the lightning is often conducted over the surface of the body -- a "flashover."

    This didn't happen to the Canadian jogger. His iPod didn't draw the lightning strike. But when the flashover hit, the iPod, resting against the man's sweaty skin, drew in the powerful electric current.

    The man had burns along his chest and neck where his earphone wires lay. The insides of his ears also were burned -- and then the ear buds conducted the current into his head.

    The man's jaw was broken on either side. His eardrums burst, and the tiny bones inside his ears were dislocated. One inner ear canal filled with blood.

    Doctors were able to set the man's jaw from the inside and repair his eardrums.

    The lesson, as the NEJM headline puts it: "Thunderstorms and iPods -- Not a Good iDea."

    http://www.webmd.com/news/20070712/ipod-da...ng-thunderstorm

    (This is of course for the children in the USA)

    How to Assure Children in a Thunderstorm

    Thunderstorms can be scary for children and assuring

    them in the middle of a storm can be frazzling for a parent

    or babysitter. These tips will help you comfort them and

    take some of the scariness out of a thunderstorm.

    Instructions

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Things You’ll Need:

    * Games, puzzles, toys

    * Snacks

    * Music

    * Candles

    * Flashlights

    * Blankets and sheets

    Step1

    Head to the basement before the storm starts. Once the

    thunder and lightning starts, the children won't be able to

    see out any windows and the noise isn't quite so loud.

    This is also helpful in case the storm becomes severe

    enough that moving the basement is necessary for safety

    reasons. If you are already there, the children won't be

    frightened by the sudden urgency to move to the

    basement. Play games, do puzzles or crafts and munch

    on snacks while downstairs.

    Step2

    Teach your child about thunderstorms and weather. These

    can be as scientific as temperature and weather patterns

    or as basic explaining that flowers need water to grow

    strong and beautiful, just like people. The Weather Whiz

    Kids Website is a fun and interactive tool that can help

    you and your child learn about weather together.

    Step3

    Have a dance party. Let your child pick out some favorite

    music and play it loudly on the stereo. Dance around,

    sing and be silly so your child associates rain with fun.

    Step4

    Keep them distracted. Do things you wouldn't normally do

    with them, like bake cookies and eat the dough, finger

    paint on butcher block paper or make a family banner

    using markers. Do whatever it takes to keep their minds

    and hands busy.

    Step5

    Make a power outage into an indoor camping adventure.

    Light candles so you can see and then build a tent in the

    living room using blankets, sheets and the furniture. Blow

    out the candles, and then crawl inside your tent with

    flashlights. Take snacks, books and games with you.

    Step6

    Send the kids on a treasure hunt. If you know a storm is

    approaching, let the kids collect blankets, flashlights,

    games and snacks so they feel in control and think of the

    storm as a game.

    www.ehow.com

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    • 9 months later...

    Very helpful thread here some more information on what to do before a thunder storm and during a storm.

    To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

    • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
    • "If thunder roars, go indoors" because no place outside is safe when lightning is in the area. We want everyone to stay indoors until 30 minutes have passed after they hear the last clap of thunder.

    Summary of Lightning Safety Tips for Inside the Home

    • Avoid contact with corded phones
    • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
    • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
    • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
    • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

    The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:

    • Postpone outdoor activities.
    • Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
    • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
    • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
    • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
    • Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
    • Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
    • Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
    • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

    Avoid the following:

    • Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
    • Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.
    • Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
    • Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.

    http://www.fema.gov/hazard/thunderstorm/th_before.shtm

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    • 1 year later...
    Posted
  • Location: West London - ASL 36.85m/120ft
  • Weather Preferences: Cold/stormy
  • Location: West London - ASL 36.85m/120ft

    If you are in a tent camping in dunkeerk then get the hell outa there, get in your car pack up your tent... and GO !!!

    Source, my tent got struck in 2006

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    • 3 months later...
    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    6. MYTH: I'm In a House, I'm Safe from Lightning

    TRUTH: While a house is a good place for lightning safety, just going inside isn't enough. You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing (including plastic pipes with water in them), metal doors or window frames, etc. Don't stand near a window to watch the lightning. An inside room is generally best.

    I wonder how many storm enthusiasts have followed the advice highlighted in bold? Not many, I suspect... I think it all boils down to the risk-reward equation (i.e. how much risk should be tolerated for the sake of some enjoyment) and I consider standing near a window to watch the storm to be a risk worth taking, though I usually shut windows and avoid touching them. (Standing on the hill at UEA is too high a risk though- I often watch distant storms from there, but I head for shelter immediately if they come close, particularly bearing in mind the point about "bolts from the blue").

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
    If I'm at home while a thunderstorm is occuring overhead or close by, the window(s) are fully open and my head is outside looking up at the sky with my camera in my hand. If a storm has got considerable amount CG lightning occuring close by, then I may consider closing the window, as I tend to get tad nervous when things get 'too close for comfort'. Otherwise I only close the window if heavy rain is being blown into my house.

    Actually, come to think of it, what I described was how I behave at my parents' house, which has excellent views upstairs and where the windows don't keep out much of the noise.

    I'd probably be much like you describe if I lived in a place with windows that were strong "sound insulators" and had no access to nearby areas that were both outdoors and under a roof. At UEA, there are plenty of places on campus falling into the latter category so instead of going indoors I usually shelter in those places.

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