Advice for staying safe during thunderstorms in Southern California

Vivid Snacks

Are you tired of being scared by the sound of thunder? How about the thunderstorm that rolls in and turns your backyard into a literal war zone? Well if you're living in Southern California, there is always a chance for some serious weather. Weather can be unpredictable, but there are some steps you can take to be as safe as possible during these infamous weather events. Here's my advice for staying safe during thunderstorms in Southern California.

Watch the weather report:

There’s no need to panic when you see a storm bearing down on Southern California, but it’s still important to keep an eye on local conditions. If you don’t know what to look for, here are some key meteorological signs that hint at impending danger:

1. Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are a sign of strong winds and heavy rain, which can be dangerous in themselves. But if the temperature drops rapidly (as it does during a thunderstorm), then you should be especially concerned.

Rainfall is also a major component of flash floods and mudslides, so if the forecast predicts heavy rain over the next few days, this could produce flooding that poses a threat to life and property.

2. Severe Weather Alerts: The National Weather Service issues severe weather alerts when severe thunderstorms are likely to develop in your area in the next two hours or less. These alerts can help forecasters predict where they will occur and how long they will last.

If you see an alert on your phone or television, take note; this means there’s a good chance that severe storms are headed your way soon and that you should take appropriate safety precautions

Don't drive in flooded areas:

A flooded road can be impassable and deadly. If you're driving in a flood, stay in your car with the doors locked. If you need to get out, do it slowly so that you don't get swept away by rushing water.

If you see someone being swept away by rushing water, try to help them stay above the current. If possible, turn them face down so that their head is below the flow and they'll be safer if they're swept away.

If anyone is caught in an area surrounded by water, don't throw anything at them or try to rescue them — they could still become victims of drowning! Instead, call 911 and stay with them until help arrives.

If you live near a river or creek that has flooded, don't stand too close to it. There could be debris floating down the river or creek that could knock you over or cause an accident if you try to cross.

You should also avoid driving through standing water in parking lots and garages because they can be slippery when wet.

Don't stand under a tree during a thunderstorm:

The reason is simple: lightning strikes the tallest objects first, and an object that's taller than you is likely to be struck.

Lightning also travels between clouds, so there's no way of knowing where lightning will strike when standing on the ground. It's best to avoid standing under trees during storms; if you're caught in a storm, get indoors immediately and stay inside until the storm passes.

If you're taking a shower during a thunderstorm, make sure to get out as quickly as possible. Lightning can strike anywhere along your body, so it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to lightning strikes.

The best thing you can do is remain inside, where it's dry and quiet. Don't stand under a tree or near any other object that might fall and hit you. Also, make sure you stay away from windows as much as possible.

If there's a storm warning or watch issued for your area, find shelter immediately. If there's lightning nearby, take shelter immediately. If it's after dark and there's lightning nearby, find shelter immediately.

Avoid open fields, the top of a hill, or a ridge top:

These are the most dangerous places to be during a thunderstorm because the wind can knock you down and the rain can cause flash flooding.

If you must go outside during a storm, find shelter in an interior room with a fireplace or fireplace chimney. If you have an empty garage, basement, or other enclosed space, get inside that instead of standing outside in the rain with your pets and fighting off lightning strikes.

If you're out and about during a thunderstorm, take extra care. Here are some tips for staying safe:

If you're in an open field, avoid running through tall grass or ditches. It may look like the storm is passing, but lightning strikes can still hit the ground nearby.

If you're in a wooded area, stay away from tree trunks and stumps because they attract lightning.

If possible, avoid the top of a hill or ridge top if you have cell phone service or GPS. If you do go up there, keep your cellphone low to the ground where it won't be hit by lightning.

If you have to go outside during a thunderstorm and don't want to risk being struck by lightning:

Stay away from tall metal objects like fences or utility poles. Metal conducts electricity while wood does not.

Stay off of any roofing materials that are made of metal because they conduct electricity better than wood does. If possible, stay inside until after the storm passes!

Do not operate any other electrical equipment that might have been damaged by water:

If you have been hit by lightning, you should seek medical attention. If you have been struck by lightning, then seek out a doctor as soon as possible.

Do not operate any other electrical equipment that might have been damaged by water. If you see a thunderstorm approaching, take shelter immediately. If possible, find an interior room with windows that open up to allow for ventilation and keep yourself away from walls and furniture.

If it's possible to do so safely, leave pets indoors during a thunderstorm. If you are caught in a storm and experience any of the following symptoms: Severe pain or numbness in your hands or feet; Feeling faint; Lightheadedness.

A tingling sensation in your face or body; Difficulty speaking or understanding speech; trouble seeing; Weakness of your eyesight; Ringing in your ears; Severe nausea or vomiting; difficulty breathing.

If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, everyone in your family needs to know difficulty how to protect themselves from lightning strikes. Here are some tips:

Keep children and pets away from windows and doors during storms. Use an insulated metal roof if possible instead of wooden shingles because metal roofing is more resistant to lightning strikes than wood shingles.

Use metal flashing around the top of your house and any exposed pipes inside your home so they are not grounded through the ground wire system (specifically called a "ground fault circuit interrupter" or GFCI).

Do not operate any other electrical equipment that might have been damaged by water:

If you have any electrical equipment that might have been damaged by water, do not use them until they have been cleared of any water and inspected for damage.

If you are in a public place during a thunderstorm, avoid using your cell phone or listening to music through headphones. If you must use your phone, keep it away from windows and cover it with a protective case until the storm passes.

Stay indoors, close all blinds and curtains, and turn off all lights so they don’t attract lightning. Do not stand under trees during a thunderstorm.

Try to stay dry by keeping an umbrella handy if you are outside when lightning strikes nearby. If you must go out during a thunderstorm, take an umbrella with you when leaving your car or home.

Conclusion:

Flash floods are the most dangerous threat during thunderstorms in Southern California, and those who visit the area should take steps to ensure their safety. Don't stand near any hard surface or metallic objects, such as a television or air conditioner. And never, ever touch a fallen power line. Trust us: an electric shock is the last thing you want to experience during a thunderstorm.

If you're indoors during a thunderstorm that ends up being particularly bad, try to stay in a small room or take shelter under something sturdy, such as a table.

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