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Thunderstorms and Lightning

Thunder and lightening in the sky near a houseAll thunderstorms are dangerous because every thunderstorm produces lightning. Lightning can kill or seriously hurt people. Thunderstorms are also dangerous because they can lead to flash floods.

Visit the FEMA library to download more facts about Thunderstorms and Lightning


  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Remember if you hear thunder roar go indoors. Stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.


  • Stay inside.
  • Don’t use items that plug into electrical outlets. Power surges from lightning can come through the cords and be dangerous.
  • Don’t wash your hands, take a bath or take a shower. Faucets can conduct electricity.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Don’t lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls. They conduct electricity.
  • Don’t touch anything metal outside – bikes, playgrounds, fences.
  • Stay away from open fields, hills, or the beach.
  • Don’t stand near “lightning rods” like tall trees in an open area, or a flagpole.


  • Stay away from loose or dangling power lines.
  • Stay away from areas damaged by the storm or flood waters.


Am I at Risk?

Thunderstorms and lightning happen everywhere, but dry thunderstorms that don’t produce rain are most common in the Western U.S. They usually occur in the summer when it’s warm and humid.

Words to Know!


Death caused by electric shock, like a lightning strike

Power Surge

A spike, or huge, quick increase, in the amount of electricity coming through a power line

Heat Lightning

Lightning seen from a thunderstorm that is too far away for the thunder to be heard