National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Lightning is the "underrated killer". The summer months of June through September are the deadliest as far as lightning is concerned. In 2019, 20 people died across the US from lightning strikes. Of these 20 fatalities, 2 were in our area (in Alabama) and both fatalities dealt with construction.


There were 21 fatalities in 2018, 16 fatalities in 2017, and 40 fatalities in 2016 nationwide from lightning strikes.

Remember: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!





Lightning Safety Rules:


Move inside a well constructed house, a large building or an all-metal vehicle. Stay away from electrical appliances and do not use the telephone. 


If you are in a boat, get off the water and into a substantial building or at least into an enclosed and all-metal vehicle with the windows up.


If you are caught in an open metal boat, lie down in the boat with cushions between you and the metal sides and bottom.



If you are caught outdoors during a storm and are too far from appropriate shelter, you can lower your chances of being directly struck by crouching down low, but not lying flat on the ground. If in a ravine or valley, be alert for the threat of flooding.


Move away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts, bicycles, tractors and other metal farm equipment. Avoid wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes and drains, railroad tracks and any other metal surfaces.



Avoid isolated trees. Stay away from the tallest trees. If caught in the woods, pick a small grove of trees as your shelter and stand at least 5 feet from the trunk of the nearest tree to avoid flying bark if the tree is struck.


Avoid standing in a small isolated shed or other small un-grounded structure.


Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.


If you are with a group of people in an open area and can not get to appropriate shelter, spread out before you take last ditch efforts.



Best advice: check the forecast, watch the sky for storm development and do not put yourself in a situation where you are out in the open when a thunderstorm occurs.





Additional Information

     NEW! Lightning Flash Density Map (Vaisala)
     NEW! Lightning Stroke Density Map (Vaisala)

     Lightning Safety

     5 Ways Lightning Strikes People

     YouTube - Lightning Safety (ASL/CC)

     YouTube - Lightning Safety
     YouTube - When Lightning Strikes!
     YouTube - Leon the Lightning Lion PSA

     Lightning Detection (NASA/NOAA SciJinks)

     Brochure - Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning...Nature's Most Violent Storms