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Kewaunee County Wisconsin

Lightning Safety

Do you know what to do if you are caught in the open during a thunderstorm?  

Lightning causes, on average, 54 deaths in the U.S. annually.  Plan ahead and always listen to the latest forecast before heading outside.  And, remember: You don't have to be right under a thunderstorm to be at risk--if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck!  If there is a chance for thunderstorms, make sure you have a place of safety in mind if a storm should develop.

When Inside:
  • Avoid using corded telephones (except for emergencies), electrical appliances, and electronic equipment.
  • Do not take a bath or shower.
  • Go inside a building or all-metal vehicle
  • Avoid water (swimming pools, lakes & rivers), beaches & boats
  • Stay away from doors, windows, metal indoor fixtures & electrical devices
  • Avoid open high ground and isolated large trees
  • Do not lean on vehicles.  Get off bicycles & motorcycles.
  • Use the 30-30 rule for outdoor activityThe 30-30 rule:  Count the seconds between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder.  If this time is 30 seconds or less, then the lightning is close enough to be a threat.  Seek shelter immediately.  After seeing the last lightning flash, wait 30 minutes before leaving shelter.  More than half of all lightning deaths occur after the thunderstorm has passed.  Stay in a safe area until you are sure the threat has passed.
If Caught Outdoors:
  • Go to a safe shelter immediately such as inside a sturdy, enclosed building. A hard top automobile with the windows up can also offer protection.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get out of the water immediately and move to a safe shelter away from the water!
  • Avoid isolated trees or other tall objects, bodies of water, sheds, fences, convertible automobiles, tractors, and motorcycles.
Bottom Line:
  • There is no safe place outdoors in a thunderstorm!
Lightning Facts:
  • All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous
  • Wisconsin averages over 30 days each year with thunderstorms
  • Lightning bolts can travel 20 miles before striking the ground
  • Most lightning deaths occur when people are caught outdoors
  • Lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall
  • High winds, rainfall and a darkening cloud cover are the warning signals for possible cloud-to-ground lightning strikes