What to Do and Not to Do in a Thunderstorm

Here are some life-saving tips on what to do and not to do in a thunderstorm!

What to do

  1. Squat down

    It’s pretty dangerous outside during a thunderstorm. Lightning strikes the most on open terrain, like parks and meadows. If you get caught by a thunderstorm while you’re in a meadow, squat down, place your feet together and your hands on your knees. This makes you a less easy target. Don’t lay down, the wet ground could be a very good conductor.

  2. Put on some rubber boots

    As said before, it’s dangerous outside during a thunderstorm. But putting on rubber boots is a good idea, since rubber is a very bad conductor. Your boots block the path of the lightning to the ground, so the lightning will search an other way, without even scorching your toes.

  3. Get in a car

    Staying in a car is pretty safe. The lightning goes through the metal outside of the car, into the rubber bands. Nothing for you to worry about.

  4. Get in a plane

    When you are in a plane and lightning strikes, it could get a little bumpy. But you are pretty safe. Just like cars, planes are made from metal, which conducts the electricity around you. Before a newly built plane can go airborne, it is first tested in a laboratory where they fire fake lightning at the plane. Then they are sure the plane can withstand the lightning. There’s even special lightning protection on the electronics in the cockpit.

  5. Stay at home

    This is the safest place. If you really want to be super-safe, stay inside, do not pick up the phone and watch the thunderstorm from your couch. If you live in a very high house or an apartment, there’s probably a lightning conductor on the roof. Look if you can see a copper wire running on the outside walls of the building. If you look up, you might even see that it’s connected to a metal bar on the highest point of the building. That’s the lightning conductor.

What not to do

  1. Stand under a high tree

    Lightning always chooses the shortest way to the ground, so trees and high buildings have a greater risk of being hit. This is the same for telephone poles and mountain summits. Don’t ever ever go stand under a tree during a thunderstorm, especially if it’s just one tree. Lightning can destroy even the toughest tree. You could get hit by the lightning itself or by pieces of bark that fly off the tree. This happens when the juices in the tree expand because of the heat. And, of course, the tree could fall on top of you.

  2. Play golf

    Playing golf can be very bad for your health. For example, on an open golf course, you are probably the highest thing – an ideal target for lightning. And metal golf-clubs are good conductors. So don’t golf, except if you live in the American state Arizona. It has a golf club equipped with special lightning detectors. They can discover lightning that’s 48 kilometres away. An alarm will then go off, warning the golf players to go inside.

  3. Go fishing

    Fishermen are hit by lightning twice more than golfers, because many fishermen use rods made of carbon fibres, and that stuff is an excellent conductor. Whatever you do, don’t jump into the water. Swimmers are an easy pray for lightning, since water is also a great conductor.

  4. Become a bell-ringer

    In the past, people thought they could chase the lightning away by sounding the church bells. This didn’t work at all…. The deadly combination of being in a high church tower and sounding a metal bell, killed many fanatic bell-ringers.

  5. Call a friend

    If you’re on the phone and lightning strikes nearby, you can get a huge shock. Lightning can even send a deadly dose of electricity through the phone line. So you better not call someone in a thunderstorm. You had also better stay away from other electric apparatus, like computers and TVs. In the USA alone, hundreds of TVs explode when lightning hits the antenna, entering the house. And around 28 people a year die while calling someone during a thunderstorm.

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Published in: Emergency Preparation


RSSComments: 71  |  Post a Comment
  1. My mother tells of a time when she saw, during a thunderstorm, a blue electric charge pass through the telephone cord. And my aunt and uncle once had an electric fan destroyed by lightning striking the house.

    Good article.

  2. O_o that’s pretty scary!

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Is it possible for a thunderstorm to actually destroy a TV that is plugged in?

  4. Yes, that’s possible. I’ll tell you why.
    If lightning strikes your house and the current moves through your television, massive amounts of heat are generated. This heat can be so immense that it causes fire or even an explosion inside your television. The only wey you can prevent this is by plugging your television into a special plug that protects it from high currents such as lightning, or you can just plug out your television, which is the cheapest option.
    PS: This can happen to any electric device, whether turned on or not.


  5. I am home alone right now and there is a HUGE thunderstorm going on right now, HUGE raindrops,HUGE lightning bolts that just hit my friend’s accross the street,HUGE hail also. What should I do!?!?

  6. Call 911 and STAY INSIDE!

  7. I’m at my grandma’s right now and she was just telling me a few things that we shouldn’t do during thunderstorms, and this helped explain a lot of them more thoroughly :D Thanks a bunch ! Anne

  8. Dang, I just took a shower during a thunderstorm. Is it okay to use an unplugged laptop during a thunderstorm? How about pooping? Should I unplug my alarm clock? Turn off the light? Serious questions.

  9. Zion, it’s perfectly safe to take a shower during a thunderstorm, as long as you’re taking it inside your house. Unplugged laptops are no risk either, nor is pooping lol. You alarm clock can break down if you don’t unplug it and you have a lightining strike on your house, and so can your lights. But an alarm clock or a lamp doesn’t cost much, so you can take the risk of letting them on.

  10. Lightnings are the most scary things for me, twice a saw them so close that I almost had a heart attack because of the fear.
    Thank you Dwarf for sharing this advices I will have them in mind, but when it rains I prefer to be at home, under the blankets.
    My applauses for another great article, God bless you for share your knowledge, you are a great teen.

  11. I have a laptop at my house and want to play on it but there is a thunderstorm going on. can i play on it?

  12. A few weeks ago, during a thunderstorm, my friend told me (as I was headed to the bathroom) not to turn on the taps afterwards, as I could get hit by lightning if I did. Was she being completely paranoid?

    I had never heard anyone say this to me before in my life, and assume that this is a bit of an exaggeration that touching a tap will mean I get hit by lightning. We were in a 4 storey building, and there were other much taller buildings nearby, so I assumed that they would get hit before ours did.

  13. I don’t think that’s going to happen. What your friend was trying to say is probably that when you’ve just taken a shower or a bath, your body’s resistance is a lot lower, because it is wet. The comibantion of the metal tap and your wet body could form a perfect conductor for electricity, but it’s not going to attract lightning. On top of that, most tall buildings have a lightining conductor that, well, conducts the lightning’s electricity.

    I’m not 100% sure, but I really think it’s not going to matter.


  14. Is it posserble when your house gets struck by lighting it can run threw the cords of your house and break somthing?

  15. Hi Gaven

    In case of a thunderstrike, the electrical system of your house should normally not get damaged if your house has a proper earth connection. This earth connection (also called ground wire) combined with the cage of Faraday (which makes electric charges flow along the outside plains of objects) deducts the electricity into the earth.
    Just one thing i’d like to add: if you have any lights in your garden, these can be damaged by lightning if they have not been installed at the same moment when all other electrical systems were installed.

    I hope you understand what I mean, thanks for your comment =)


  16. once when i was 13 and my brother was 5 we went to the park with my mum so me and my brother where playing about then we told mum to get us a drink so she told me to play and she will be quick then it stared to rain then i heard something coming from the sky then i looked up then the closest thing to me was a tree then we ran together as soon as we got there i remember that in geography the day before the day i went to the park the teachere said if there is a thundersotm never go under the tree i knew then my mum had the car keys then i got hirt so did my brother he was crying but we didnt have time to think a bout that so we
    ran quickley infact i had to lift him up and go stright to the shop i was saved by god as well as i was running quickley my brother peed on his self because of the fright

  17. There is a thunder storm today and my friends are camping out by this HUGE tree should i tell them no or should i go?

  18. Hi
    good job
    you rock!

  19. whats up :)

  20. Thanks for the positive comments everyone!
    Try checking out my (currently) newest article:
    Five stunning airport facts



  21. good!

  22. there is a thunder storm goin on ryt now and my plugs just sparked and is it alryt too go on my laptop pluged in or should i leave it unplugged

  23. I don’t think there is any danger, but you might want to leave it unplugged until the storm is over, just to be safe.
    If your house is properly earthed.


  24. I really need to take a shower but dont know if its safe since there is a severe thunderstorm watch right now. I know I shouldn’t even be on the computer right now

  25. hi hi hi hi hi lol lol lol wtf wtf wtf wtf

  26. hi..

    there is a thunder storm going on outside now and the thunder is pretty loud…will that affect anything??

  27. hey, there is going to be a thunderstorm soon, according to my friend who lives about 10 miles away, and i heard thunder. what should i do to prepare??

  28. Hey, There is Thunder storm going on outside…it’s PRETTY BIG….But…I looked out the window (I know stupid) and saw no lighting but I can hear thunder!? I also sat on my bed and watched thw window for any lighting…through my mirrow cuz I can see the window though my mirrow….

    Oh, and should I unplug EVERYTHING in my room or around me?
    My light is on..I unplugged my laptop…TV’s plugged in as always…same with stereo…and fan..and..my alarm clock runs on a battery. OH and my blow dryer…Do you think I should like unplug them?

    I abousoutly LOVE Thunder storms…and..just when u think there over….CRASH! Thunder..hits letting you know that it’s done! But there kina scary, which makes me love them…but am pretty scared right now….(I’m 12 going on 13 in like 2 months) I tried to read scary stories while listeing to the storm….and i couldn’t do it…too scary…WOW…so yea c-ya pplz lateerr!

  29. Well, i’m no expert on thunderstorms like DwarfPope, but by what they say any other time, it sounds like you should leave your laptop, alarm clock,TV, as it is now. Maybe you should unplug your stereo, fan, and blow dryer. And the reason you can hear thunder but not see light ning is because thestorm is too far away. Maybe the sound is reflecting more than the light is. The human eye can only detect so much…..

  30. we had a lightening strike yesterday and it sent a surge of electricity through my laptop why’ll i was on it and i got a very large electric shock, i didnt pass out but it sent a pain through my hand up my arm and into my neck do u think i will be ok?

  31. Ive heard that you shouldn\’t take a shower when theres a thunderstorm. Whys that?

  32. First of all, it is completely safe to have a shower in a thunderstorm if your housee is properly earthed. If it were not, there is a chance that the lightning goes trough your body, as wet bodies have a very low electrical reisistance.
    But in every modern house around the world, there is no risk involved in having a shower during a thunderstorm.

  33. ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, SCARY what your all saying… anyway I’m out!

  34. hello can u tel me what would u see first lighting or wud u hear thunder first also how long can a thunderstorm last

  35. You see the lightning first. Because light travels faster than sound. And btw you should not shower/bath as plumbing can sometimes attract electricity.

  36. thanks everyone !!

  37. I dont understand how does the lightning shock you while your Bathing

  38. hi..im at home right now and it has 2 b the worst thunderstorm evr goin on and i have jus me my fiance and our 1 year old son. is it safe 2 lay down in my bed even if its just inches away from my bed..or am i severly perinoid..or bed is rite in front of the window…plz answer asap! thankx!

  39. I’ve heard of lightning hitting fences-metal fences. How long should I go without touching a metal fence that has been struck by lightning?

  40. Can lightning blow your eyeballs out?
    Can lightning blow your inside organs out?
    Or is that just a myth?

  41. Hey! Great article! I was wondering if brand new laptops (I have a Sony Vaio from Fall 2009) can be harmed by lightning even if they are unplugged and turned off. We’ve been having some serious storms lately and after each storm my laptop acts up when I turn it on……?

  42. There is a thunderstorm by my house… is there anyway I can tell how far away it is?

    also, should I turn off the lights? my sister is really paranoid when it comes to thunderstorms and she said the lights can attract lightning.
    Should I turn off my t.v. aswell? I have sattelite, so would it even matter?

    help appreciated.

  43. To tell how far away a thunderstorm is simply count how many seconds after you see lightning when you here thunder and divide that number by five. Then you can tell how many miles away a thunderstorm is.

  44. there is a thunderstorm right now and i have two HUGE windows and a tree is slanted and about to fall on my house but right now im in the cellar but its still scary!!!! what should i do????

  45. i hate u all

  46. hey what about your hair, if you touch it, can you get lightning on you?!?!

    P.S. I am scared as hell of lightning!

  47. Im in a huge thunderstorm. Theres baseball sized hail and rains pouring like a waterfall. theres no thunder or lightning but the sky is a dark red/orange. what does that mean?

  48. go in a sturdy building the red and orange tornado

  49. ok,there isnt a thunder storm right at the moment but i wuz jus wunderin can u die if lighting hits u or do u jus pass out? dont worry this has nevr happend 2 me

  50. k look u r gonna pee ur pants when u go to youtube. just tipe in kitty fun and pause at 0:40 k bye bye

  51. Very informative post. I was not aware that staying in the car is safe when there is a thunderstorm.

  52. So long as you’re in a safe place there’s nothing better than a powerful thunderstorm. Listening to rain and thinder is almost better than taking a sleeping pill. It’s so relaxing and soothing.

  53. what are some sighns of a tornado.i need an answer NOW



  56. Thanks. you make me Feel safest

  57. If lightning strikes a tree, are there some remanent charges on it so that it can be dangerous to touch it?

  58. I got hit by lighting what should i do it reely hurts

  59. should i open a window during a thunderstorm


  60. wheen a tornado hits go in the basement, the tub, or in a door way were nothing can hit you! the sighns that tornado may be coming are: strong winds, black clouds, heavy rain, and large hail!

  61. thanks but um i wanted to know if playin on my ds was safe durin a severe thunderstorm warning i dont hav it pluged in but can it still hurt me?

  62. It almost seems as though none of you actually read what he is writing. You’re asking questions that he already answered, stating facts that he already proved wrong, and not to mention some of your questions are amazingly stupid! This guy seems to put alot of work into this and it would be nice if you could show a little bit of appreciation and read what he’s saying!

  63. ! L0V3 TH!$ W3B$!T3 @ L0T OF #3LP,
    B@!L3Y W!L$0N
    WUV$ YOU

  64. D!D Y0U KN0W T#@T DUR!NG @ T0RN@D0 T#@T T#3 $KY
    !$ @ $!(KLY GR33N!$# (0L0R 0R GR33N!$# BL@(K (0L0R?!?!?!

  65. Who the fuck is DwarfPope and why is he misspelling shit all the time?

  66. I just noticed that I made a comment after God, B@!L3Y W!L$0N and I; is that legal?

  67. Does anyone have any information on how thunderstorms can mess up people’s genes and do freaky things, like change the colour of someone’s natural eye colour? Or even cure paraplegics? I heard some crazy stories, like one about how this man got struck by lightning, survived, and then ended up with different colour eyes. One brown and one green! O.O

  68. Does anyone have information on how thunderstorms can mess up someone’s genes and do freaky things to their bodies? I heard some crazy stories on how lightning can apparently cure paraplegics and even change the colour of someone’s natural eye colour! This one story I heard was about some man who got struck by lightning, survived, and then ended up with different eye colours. His eyes were originally green, but after he got struck by lightning he ended up with two different eye colours! O>O

  69. Does anyone have information on how thunderstorms can mess up someone\’s genes and do freaky things to their bodies? I heard some crazy stories on how lightning can apparently cure paraplegics and even change the colour of someone\’s natural eye colour! This one story I heard was about some man who got struck by lightning, survived, and then ended up with different eye colours. His eyes were originally green, but after he got struck by lightning he ended up with two different eye colours! O.O

  70. What are your sources for this information?

  71. Touching running water like washing dishes, staying in bath or taking shower during thunderstorm is also dangerous. Lightning can strike to a person in that situation.

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