National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
 
Drought

Safe shelters are buildings with electricity and plumbing or metal-topped vehicles with the windows closed. Picnic shelters, dugouts and small buildings without plumbing or electricity are not safe. Below are some key safety tips for you, your pets and your home. There are three main ways lightning enters structures: a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure or through the ground. Once in a structure, lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring..

  • Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones.
  • Don't touch electrical equipment such as computers, TVs, or cords. You can use remote controls safety.
  • Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.
  • Stay away from exterior windows and doors doors that might contain metal components leading from outside your home to the inside.
  • Stay off balconies, porches and out of open garages or car ports.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
  • Protect your pets: Dog houses are not safe shelters. Dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.
  • Protect your property: Lightning generates electric surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Typical surge protectors will not protect equipment from a lightning strike. Do not unplug equipment during a thunderstorm as there is a risk you could be struck.