Thunderstorm & Lightning Safety

Thunderstorms can bring:
  • Hail
  • Heavy rain (which can cause flash flooding)
  • Lightning
  • Strong winds
  • Tornadoes
Find Shelter
In a severe thunderstorm, get inside a sturdy building and stay tuned to a battery-operated radio for weather information.

Lightning Safety
Lightning is a major threat during a thunderstorm. If you are caught outdoors, avoid natural lightning rods such as tall, isolated trees in open areas or on the top of a hill, and metal objects such as fences, golf clubs, and metal tools. Lightning can and does strike twice in the same place. It may strike several times in the same place during a storm.


For earliest notification of bad weather, residents should purchase a weather alert radio which can be activated by the National Weather Service. These radios are inexpensive and are available at stores such as Radio Shack. The radio will turn on when the weather notifications are passed and will keep you informed of the storm's progress.

Thunderstorm Danger Signs
  • Dark towering or threatening clouds
  • Distant lightning or sounds of thunder
Preparing Before the Storm
  • Check for hazards in your yard. Dead or rotting trees and branches can fall during a severe thunderstorm
  • Make sure family members know how to respond:
    • Have an emergency communications plan to ensure you can all get in contact following a severe storm.
    • Learn actions to prevent injury from flash floods.
    • Teach children when and how to call for assistance. In Ledyard we use 911.
  • Have a disaster supply kit premade which includes:
    • Emergency food and water
    • Extra prescription medications
    • First aid kit
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Portable battery operated radio and extra batteries
When the Storm Arrives
Indoor Precautions
  • Avoid the bathtub or the shower until the storm passes. Metal pipes can also carry electrical current from the lightning.
  • Close windows securely.
  • Do not handle electrical equipment such as telephones and TV sets. Lightning could follow the wires to strike you.
  • Listen to battery operated radios for latest storm information.
  • Secure outside objects (such as lawn furniture) that could blow away and cause damage.
Outdoors Precautions
  • Attempt to get into a sturdy building or a car.
  • Avoid structures such as towers, tall trees, metal fences, telephone, cable TV or power lines.
  • If no shelter is available, get to an open space and squat low (kneel with hands on knees) as quickly as possible. Beware of the potential for flooding in low lying areas. If in the woods, get near a group of smaller trees. Stay away from a single tall tree.
  • If you are in an open level field and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates lightning is about to strike) drop to your knees and bend forward, putting your hands on your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground.
  • Stay away from natural lightning rods such as golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles, or camping equipment.
  • Stay away from rivers, lakes and streams since flooding is a possibility.
If Caught in a Car
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Even a small amount of water across the road can sweep your vehicle into danger.
  • Pull safely onto the shoulder away from trees that could fall on your vehicle.
  • Stay in the car and turn on emergency flashers until the heavy rain passes.
After the Storm
  • A person who has been struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge that could hurt you. If the victim is burned, provide first aid and call for medical assistance. If the person is not breathing and has no heartbeat start CPR and seek help.
  • Check for injuries.
  • Drive only if necessary and with caution. Debris from wires and flash flooding could be on the road and make driving dangerous.
  • Report downed utility wires to CL&P.
Information Source
This thunderstorm preparedness information was taken from guides prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.