A thunderstorm is formed by a combination of moisture, rapidly rising warm air, and a force capable of lifting the warm air. Typically these forces are warm or cold fronts, sea breeze, or air forced over mountains.
What is Lightning?
Lightning is an electrical discharge that results from the buildup of positive and negative charges within a thunderstorm. When the buildup becomes strong enough, lightning appears as a bolt. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.
Thunderstorm and Lightning Facts
Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
Know the Terms
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
Warning and Danger Signs
Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, the sound of thunder, or increasing wind.
Actions to Consider
If in a Vehicle
If Someone is Struck by Lightning
People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely. Have someone dial 911 (or equivalent) or your local EMS number. Look for burns where lightning entered and exited the body and provide first aid. If the strike caused the victim's heart and breathing to stop, provide CPR until medical professionals arrive and take over.
Did You Know
On average, the United States gets 100,000 thunderstorms per year. Lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes.
Contact your local or Installation's Office of Emergency Management for more information.
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