With the weather getting warmer, many of us will be enjoying the outdoors this spring and summer. Do you know what to do if severe weather is approaching and you can't get to a safe building in time?
Golf courses and baseball fields, like this one, are popular places between April and July. If a storm moves in, seek shelter immediately. In fact, you should start finding safe shelter as soon as you hear thunder. If you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to get struck by lightning.
The shelter should be an enclosed building if possible. If one is not available, you need to find protection elsewhere.
Stay away from trees or open fields. Lightning will typically strike the tallest object. If it strikes the tree, the bolt could travel to you. In an open field, you are likely the tallest object. Sitting or crouching should only be a last resort if a building or vehicle is not available.
A hard topped vehicle is one place you can go when a building can't be found. Get inside, close the door and roll up the windows. Be sure you are not touching anything metal. If a tornado is moving towards you, abandon the vehicle and find a safe building.
If that is not available, find a ditch, culvert or lowest spot in the ground and lie flat. You do not want to seek shelter underneath an overpass. The wind will actually be stronger there because it is getting squeezed into a tighter space. Also, you are exposed to flying debris.
The best thing to do when you have an outdoor activity planned is to stay updated on the latest forecast, keep your eye on the sky and have a weather radio nearby.
Camping and fishing are popular activities in the spring and summer. If you are camping and a tornado is approaching, seek shelter in a safe and sturdy building. If one is not available, then find the lowest spot in the ground possible and lie flat. Also, be sure to protect your head. Do not seek shelter in your tent, camper or vehicle. If you are trying to stay safe in a non-tornado producing thunderstorm, seek shelter in a safe and sturdy building or a hard-topped vehicle.
When fishing, you should follow the same rules as you would camping. Always move to shore when a thunderstorm approaches. Water is a good conductor of electricity and lightning typically strikes the tallest object. On an open lake, that could be you.
Be careful when camping or fishing. Keep your eyes and ears open. Take a weather radio with you on your trip to stay informed of the latest forecasts.