- Lauren Colley The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), lightning is the leading weather-related killer in Georgia, (second only to tornadoes) killing one to two people, and injuring 12 people each year, on average.
GEMA/HS suggests these tips to prepare for severe lightning storms:
Before lightning strikes
• Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
• Know the 30/30 rule: go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
• Monitor radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.
When a storm approaches
• Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.
• If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible by squatting. Do not lie flat on the ground.
• If on open water, get to land and shelter immediately.
• Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)
• Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water.
• Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor.
• Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will help prevent glass from shattering into your home.
Things to avoid:
• A tall, isolated tree in an open area.
• Hilltops, open fields, the beach, a pool, a boat on the water, isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
• Anything metal — tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles. After the Storm Passes
• Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
• Listen to the radio or television for information and instructions.