Keeping Yourself Safe During a Thunderstorm - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Keeping Yourself Safe During a Thunderstorm

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The National Weather Service is warning the public to stay safe during thunderstorms. The number one piece of advice they have for you? Keep a close eye on the forecast. If you see there is a chance of thunderstorms in your area, at a certain time, the only foolproof way to protect yourself against a lightning strike is to be inside! 

If you happen to catch yourself outside for whatever reason during a storm, try to get to shelter immediately, if at all possible. 

Dawn Johnson with the National Weather Service in Reno says, "When you see those clouds start to build into what might look like a thunderstorm, you better make sure you're getting off the mountain or out of the water, better to be safe than sorry."

Johnson also warns about something she says many people don't know: Even if you are not near the dark patch of storm clouds, or they are not directly overhead, lightning can still strike 10-20 miles, possibly even further, outside of the main storm. 

If you're outside during a thunderstorm and the hair on your arms starts to stand up--that means your body is already inducing an electrical charge, and it may be too late to evacuate or get inside. 

In this instance, make sure you are not the tallest thing in the area. Lightning tends to strike the easiest, tallest target. However, also be sure not to stand too close to anything tall, either. For example, underneath trees or by any towers or poles. 

Johnson advises to avoid areas like ditches, as well, as flowing water can carry an electrical current. 

If you're in a large group outside, spread far away from each other, because people can also carry those currents. 

Johnson adds, this year especially, it's important to be aware of flash flooding, because of the extremely wet winter we recently saw. She says, "Ground is at record saturation levels for this time of year. So it will take a lot less rainfall to cause the same impacts that it might from a heavier storm in a drier year."

In addition to lightning, thunderstorms also carry a high fire danger due to strong winds, which is one of the greatest drivers of fire.

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