The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring at any moment around the world. That’s 16 million a year!

Despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding. Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some thunderstorms.

Take the time NOW to understand these dangers and learn basic safety rules.


  • Average 93 deaths and 300 injuries each year
  • Causes several hundred million dollars in damage to property and forests annually

Straight-line winds

  • Winds can exceed 100 mph!
  • One type straight-line wind, the downburst, can cause damage equivalent to a strong tornado

Large Hail

  • Causes nearly $1 billion in damage to property and crops annually
  • Costliest United States hailstorm: Denver Colorado, July 11 1990. Total damage was $625 million

Flash Floods/floods

  • The number ONE thunderstorm killer nearly 140 fatalities each year
  • Most flash flood deaths occur at night and when people become trapped in automobiles

Who’s Most at Risk from Thunderstorms?

From lightning:

  • People who are outdoors, especially under or near tall trees
  • People who are in or on water
  • People who are on or near hilltops

From Flooding:

  • People who are in automobiles when flash flooding occurs near them

From Tornadoes:

  • People who are in mobile homes and automobiles

What You Can DO!

Before the storm…

  • Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby major cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving on extended periods outdoors
  • Watch for signs of approaching storms
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent

When Thunderstorms Approach….

  • Remember: if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning
  • Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees
  • Use phones only in an emergency
  • Do not take a bath or shower
  • Turn off electrical appliances
  • Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible

If Caught Outdoors and No Shelter is nearby…

  • Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles
  • Make sure the place you pick is not prone to flooding
  • If you are in woods, take shelter under shorter trees
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!

If you feel your skin tingle or you hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground.

Thanks to Morgan County GA. for this information