Thunderstorm Safety

Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared with Hurricanes and Winter Storms.

Despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding. Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some Thunderstorms.

Of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms that occur each year in the United States, only about 10 percent are classified as severe.


Thunderstorm Watch
Conditions are right for severe thunderstorms to form. When your area is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, continue to stay tuned to WAVE 3 for possible warnings.

Thunderstorm Warning
A Severe Thunderstorm has been spotted by a trained observer or detected on radar. Take action immediately. A storm is classified severe if it produces hail at least¾- inch in diameter, wind 58 mph or higher, or tornadoes.


  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately!
  • Move to a sturdy building. DO NOT take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees.
  • If Lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep the windows up. DO NOT take shelter in convertible automobiles.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, stoves, sinks and showers.
  • Use phones only in an emergency. Telephone lines and metal pipes conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
  • Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from Lightning can overload the compressors.
  • Get to higher ground if Flash Flooding or Flooding is possible.

If You Are Outdoors:

  • Find a low spot away from natural lightning rods such as trees, fences, and poles. Make sure you pick a place that is not subject to flooding.
  • Do not project above the landscape such as standing in an open field. If you are in the woods be sure to seek shelter under the shorter trees.
  • If you are boating or swimming or boating, get to land and find shelter immediately.
  • In open areas go to a low place such as a ravine or a valley.
  • If you are hopelessly isolated outdoors and your hair begins to stand on end, lightning is about to strike. Drop to your knees and bend forward. Put your hands on your knees, but do not lie flat on the ground. Only your feet and knees should touch the ground.