Summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena -- lightning. All thunderstorms are dangerous because all thunderstorms produce lightning. Though lightning strikes peak in summer, people are struck year round. In the United States, an average of 51 people are killed each year by lightning, and hundreds more are severely injured.

Thunderstorms are also associated with other natural hazards including, tornadoes, strong winds, hail, and flash flooding.

What you should know about lightning

  • No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.
  • If you hear thunder, you should immediately find a safe place to shelter and remain there until at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder sound.
  • Lightning often will strike outside of a period of heavy rain when it appears that the thunderstorm is less severe.
  • Lightning can occur as far as 10 miles away from areas experiencing rainfall.
  • "Heat lightning" is still dangerous. It is still lightning- just from a thunderstorm that is too far away to be heard.
  • People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and should therefore be attended to immediately upon being struck.

For more information on how to prepare for yourself for thunderstorms and lightning, check out FEMA's Thunderstorms and Lightning Safety  page.

Remember, if you see it, flee it. If you hear it, fear it.

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