Plan & Prepare
What to do Before a Thunderstorm
(Much of the information on this page is adapted from information provided by the American Red Cross, FEMA and the National Weather Service).
Thunderstorms And Lightning: Basic Preparedness
As with other types of emergency, you should prepare yourself
and your family by creating an Emergency
Supply Kit and a Family
Disaster Plan. See NJOEM's Basic
Preparedness page for more details.
- Your Kit includes items that will help you stay
self-sufficient for up to three days, if needed.
- Your Plan includes evacuation plans, a place to
reunite with loved ones, and an out-of-state contact person.
Check for hazards in the yard outside your home. Dead
or rotting trees and branches can fall during a severe thunderstorm
and cause injury or property damage.
Know the warning signs: Look for darkening skies, dark
and towering clouds, flashes of light, or increasing wind.
Listen for thunder. If you can hear thunder you are close
enough to the storm to be struck by lightning and should go
to safe shelter immediately.
Stay Tuned: Listen to NOAA
Weather Radio or your local radio and television
stations for weather updates, Storm Watches or Warnings,
and emergency instructions from public safety Officials. Remember:
A battery-powered radio is a vital part of your Emergency
Supply Kit. You can also track current weather conditions
with links available on our Current Weather/Traffic Web page.
Listen For Storm Watches And Warnings
The National Weather Service issues a Severe Thunderstorm
Watch when a severe thunderstorm is likely to develop
soon. This is the time to locate a safe place in the home
and tell family members to watch the sky and listen
to the radio or TV for more information.
A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when a severe
thunderstorm has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
At this point the danger is very serious. Everyone should
go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio or
TV and wait for the "all clear" from the authorities.
Estimating The Distance Of A Thunderstorm
To estimate the distance:
- Count the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder.
- Divide this number by 5 to determine the distance to the lightning in miles.
The 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule:
- If you cannot count to 30 seconds between a flash of
lightning and the next clap of thunder, GO INDOORS.
- STAY INDOORS for 30 minutes after hearing the last
clap of thunder.