Lightning + Thunderstorms

From 2006 to 2013, 261 people were struck and killed by lightning in the United States. The National Weather Service has important lightning safety information for families and businesses.

If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning.

  • Know the terms:
    • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: large hail, winds 58 mph or greater or a tornado are possible in your area in the next 3 to 6 hours.
    • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: large hail, winds 58 mph or greater or a tornado are happening in your area or are about to happen.
  • Use the 30/30 rule:
    • If the time between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder is 30 seconds or less, then lightning is close enough to strike you. Go inside immediately.
    • Wait inside until 30 minutes have passed since the last flash of lightning.

Have a Thunderstorm Plan

  • Listen to local TV or radio for weather watches and warnings.
  • If a thunderstorm is likely in your area, go indoors and use the 30/30 rule.
  • Secure outdoor items that could blow away.
  • Plumbing, bathroom fixtures and corded telephones can conduct electricity and cause serious injury.
  • Unplug computers or television sets to prevent power surges.

Be ready. Be mobile.

VDEM Ready Virginia Mobile App

Prepare for any type of emergency situation. Find out about disasters in advance with local weather and public health alerts. Locate hurricane evacuation routes and nearby open shelters. Preparing for disasters is one of the most important things you can do for the safety of you and your family. The Ready Virginia app provides you with up-to-the-minute information that affects every Virginian.

Ready VA Mobile