FLASH! BOOOOOOOOM! FLASH!
We know what that means! A thunderstorm is on its way! Aren’t thunderstorms exciting? We here at STOP Metrowest find thunderstorms exhilarating to experience! It’s like a performance in the sky! A bright, white dancing across the dark, cloud-filled skies, while being followed by a deafening drum declaring the end of that lightning’s dance. All of this while heavy rain patters on our rooftops. It truly is a performance to witness! However, behind all that beauty lies a danger that can turn deadly very quickly. Just as we use special glasses to watch solar eclipses, we should take extra measures in order to safely witness a thunderstorm at work. Here are a few tips you can use to experience a thunderstorm as safely as possible.
30-30 Rule. The 30-30 rule is a great way to determine how close you are to the thunderstorm. All you need to do is count the seconds from when you see lightning to when you hear thunder.
Lower than 30. If you stopped at a number less than 30, the storm should be 10 or less miles away from you, and you need to seek shelter immediately.
Higher than 30. If you stopped at a number higher than 30, the thunderstorm is likely 10 or more miles away from you. I still advise that you seek shelter even if you land on a number higher than 30.
Shelter. Seek enclosed shelter immediately during a thunderstorm. When lightning strikes, it can cause a ground current to occur. This means that an electric current from the lightning is traveling on the surface of the ground. Both being struck by lighting or standing where a ground current is located can not only be dangerous, but deadly.
No Shelter Available. If there is no shelter available, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that you crouch while touching the ground as little as possible. Lightning tries to find the easiest way to strike the ground which tall object help it achieve. If you are outside during thunderstorms, do not be the tallest thing the lightning can find.
Avoid Trees. When a storm occurs, one of our first thoughts is get out of the rain and usually a tree can provide a shelter from the rain. However, they are tall and are perfect for lightning to strike. Trees can fall and catch fire making them another danger.
Cars. Cars may be used as a shelter during a thunderstorm if there are no enclosed shelters nearby. However, if you seek shelter in your car, make sure you are not in contact with anything other than your seat and the floor.
Windows and Doors. Close your windows and doors and stay away from them if possible. It may be pretty to watch lightning glisten the sky, but open doors and windows can invite lightning to come in your home.
Metal and Water. Water and metal are great conductors of electricity. It is best to stay away from metal and water sources until a thunderstorm passes.
Concrete. Concrete can be dangerous during a thunderstorm. Usually, lying behind concrete walls or below concrete floors is structural metal which can conduct electricity. It is best to avoid standing, lying, and sitting concrete if possible.
Landlines. Landline telephones should be avoided during thunderstorms. Since the lines are made of wire and can conduct energy, they can send electrical currents into the landline’s phone. However, cellphones and other phones not connected to any cables are fine.
Wireless Phones. Unlike landlines, wireless phones such as cellphones are safe to use during thunderstorms.
Electronics. Electronics should be unplugged during a thunderstorm, even if they have a surge protector. Unplugging them greatly reduces the risk of those electronics being destroyed if lightning hits your home directly.
Thunderstorms are beautiful from the safety of our own homes. The next thunderstorm you experience, I suggest trying out the 30-30 rule. It can be fun guessing how far away the thunderstorm is, and it can pass the time while you wait!
We at STOP Metrowest understand the importance of feeling secure in your own home. That’s why we strive to get the job right done the first time . . . so you can sleep soundly without a worry. We specialize in responding to disasters. If you experience flooding or a tree branch penetrating the roof, STOP provides emergency water removal and roof and siding tarping and window board up. When you have enough going on after the storm, call STOP at 508-841-3082.
You can find us at our website at STOP Metrowest.