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What should you do if thunder rumbles?

If a lightning storm disrupts summer fun, know what to do to stay safe

The rolling crash of thunder. The bright crack of lightning. Thunderstorms can be quite a spectacle — but they’re unpredictable and dangerous too.

Follow these safety steps at the first signs of a lightning storm.

In short

Lightning takes the shortest path from cloud to earth. Don’t be that path. That means:

  • Get low — touching the ground as little as possible.
  • Stay away from water and metal.

What to do next

If you have kids, teach them about staying safe in severe weather. Children can play games — and learn about preparing for disasters — at a new window).

Stay safe: The risk is real

In the U.S., more than 400 people every year are struck by lightning. On average, more than 50 are killed. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors on summer afternoons and evenings. 

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Weather Service
National Weather Service;

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