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Thunder, Lightning and Hail Storms

How to Handle Thunder, Lightning and Hail

  • Thunderstorms may pass by quickly but can damage property or harm people in an instant— and thunderstorms can produce tornadoes in all parts of the country. Although some storms can't be predicted, you can take steps to protect yourself and your property.

    Prepare Ahead of Time

    • Teach your children what to do in the event of an emergency.
    • Know where your pets or animals like to hide so you can find them before a storm.
    • Learn the thunderstorm danger signs: dark, towering or threatening clouds and the sound or appearance of distant lightning and thunder.
    • Take an inventory of your personal property. The Liberty Mutual Home Gallery® app is a convenient way to do this.
    Take Steps to Protect Your Property

    • Trim tree branches that could break windows and penetrate your home.
    • Install lightning rods to conduct lightning safely to the ground.
    • Have a household safety kit established and ready to go with you as needed.
    • Bring patio furniture and toys into the house or a secured garage. Secure large items, such as boats or swing sets, to the ground.
    • If hail is predicted, it is important to get animals to shelter, as they are especially vulnerable.
    • Close all doors and secure all windows.
    If You Can Be Indoors

    • Avoid using utilities during the storm— rely on candles and battery-powered appliances instead.
    • Listen for radio reports (on a battery- or crank-powered radio only) from the National Weather Service and follow all instructions.
    • Do not handle any electrical equipment or telephones, as lightning can follow the wire. TV sets are particularly dangerous at this time.
    • Avoid bathtubs, water faucets and sinks, because metal pipes can transmit electricity.
    • If high winds are predicted, identify the safest rooms in your house in which to weather the storm, preferably internal rooms with no windows, and wait out the storm there.
    If Caught Outdoors

    • Get into a building or car if at all possible.
    • If shelter isn't available, stay in the open and squat low to the ground as quickly as possible. Do not shelter under anything tall, such as a tree, fence, tower or telephone lines.
    • If you are in the woods, get under a low clump of trees.
    • Avoid metal objects that will act as natural lightning rods; these could be anything from farm equipment to fishing rods, bicycles, golf clubs or camping equipment.
    • Avoid water in rivers, lakes, ponds or streams. Be aware of the potential for flooding in low-lying areas.
    • If you are isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that 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.
    If in a Car

    • Pull off the road— don't stop under trees.
    • Stay in your car with the emergency flashers turned on until the storm is over.
    • Avoid low-lying areas where flooded roads are likely.
    After the Storm

    • Listen to the radio to determine whether the storm has passed.
    • Stay away from fallen power lines; report any you find.
    • Do not drive unless necessary; roads may be washed out or flooded.