During a thunderstorm Mother Nature can put on a spectacular, and at times, dangerous show. Dangers associated with thunderstorms can include lightning, heavy rain, flooding, hail and strong winds. The life span of thunderstorms is usually less than an hour. When storms combine they can form squall lines. Some thunderstorms grow into powerful supercells which can last for hours and spawn tornadoes.
Only 10% of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms a year become severe, but that 10% accounts for most of the loss of life and property damage. The first step in staying safe in a thunderstorm is staying tuned into Oklahoma's Own number one meteorologist, Gary England and the News 9 weather team. If severe weather is possible in the area Gary and his staff of meteorologists will keep you up to date on all the watches and warnings and will let you know when and where the storms will strike.
What to do during a thunderstorm:
• Stay off of land line phones
• Stay away from windows
• Have flashlights in case the power goes out
• Avoid taking a shower or bath. If lightning strikes your house it may send a current of electricity across metal plumbing into your bathroom. Plastic piping will not carry lightning.
• Reduce your speed
• If your visibility is impaired and you cannot drive through the storm pull off to the shoulder of the road, away from tall objects, such as trees, which could fall due to wind or lightning.
• Turn on your vehicle's emergency flashers
• Stay in the vehicle until the storm passes
• Do not touch metal objects in the vehicle
• Go inside!
• If you cannot find shelter, stay away from tall, isolated objects such as trees, poles, or posts.
• If you begin to feel your hair stand on end, this indicates lightning is about to strike. Stay low. Curl up on the ground in a small little ball possible. Do not lie flat on the ground, it makes you a larger target for lightning, and try to keep out of puddles or other standing water.
• Boaters and swimmer should get to land as a soon as possible
• If you're in a group caught outside, spread out.
• Never touch downed power lines. Dial 911 or the local power company immediately to ensure that the line is turned off so repairs can be made.