Hail and Lightning - The University of Tulsa
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Hail and Lightning

Lightning and Hail are two aspects of a severe thunderstorm that can cause serious injuries.  Here are ways to help prepare and guard against the damaging effects of these severe weather occurrences.

Lightning

Lightning is one of the most underrated, yet deadly, weather hazards.  While lightning is associated with severe thunderstorms, a lightning strike can occur without other indicators of severe weather.  Lightning may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

If you hear thunder, that means lightning is in the vicinity.  You should begin to take precautions and follow the 30/30 Rule.

30 – if there is less than 30 seconds between the flash of lightning and when thunder is heard, you should go indoors.
30 – wait until 30 minutes has passed after the last clap of thunder to resume activities.

To ensure your safety:

When lightning is in the vicinity, you should:

  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Go inside an enclosed building, with wiring and plumbing.
    • If no enclosed building is available, a hard-topped metal vehicle, with windows closed, is a safe place to be.
  • Unplug electrical devices.
  • Avoid:
    • Open areas – you don’t want to be the tallest object.
    • Patios, pavilions, dugouts, carports, sheds, tents, etc.
    • Trees, towers, utility poles, other metal objects, e.g. golf clubs, etc.
    • Electrical equipment – appliances, desktop computers, TV, etc.
    • Corded phones or hard-wired internet
    • Plumbing – avoid showering, washing dishes, etc.

If someone is struck by lightning:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Move the person to a safer place. The person does not have a charge so there is no danger to you when you touch them.
  • Give first aid and CPR, if needed.
  • Use an AED (automated external defibrillator) if needed and one is available.

Hail

Hail is a common and costly weather hazard in the United States. Hail frequently occurs during severe storms and causes damage to buildings, windows, vehicles, and other property.  Being hit with hail can cause significant injury as well.

Before a severe storm that may contain hail:

  1. Protect pets from hail by bringing them inside or in some type of protected shelter.
  2. If possible, move vehicles into the garage, covered parking garage, or some other place where it will be protected.
  3. Listen to weather alerts on local TV or radio stations.

During a severe storm that contains hail:

  1. Stay inside to avoid injury from being hit with hail or debris from strong winds.
  2. Stay away from windows and glass doors.  Close all drapes, blinds, or shades to prevent broken window glass and hailstones from entering the residence.
  3. Go to a safe area of the residence in case tornadoes form with the storm.
  4. If you’re on the road during a severe storm, stay in your vehicle and slow down or stop, as roads may become slippery. If possible, find a covered area where you could park, even a gas station or bank drive-thru area.  If you aren’t able find covered parking, stop in a safe area and turn your back to the window and cover yourself with a blanket or coat to protect yourself from broken glass.