Before the Thunderstorm

Some thunderstorms can be seen approaching, while others hit without warning. It is important to learn and recognize the danger signs and to plan ahead.

Learn the thunderstorm danger signs.

  • Dark, towering, or threatening clouds.
  • Distant lightning and thunder.
Have disaster supplies on hand
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes
Check for hazards in the yard.
Dead or rotting trees and branches can fall during a severe thunderstorm and cause injury and damage.
Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a thunderstorm.
Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water.
Teach children how and when to call 911, police, fire department, and which radio station to tune for emergency information.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
A severe thunderstorm watch is issued by the National Weather Service when the weather conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm (damaging winds 58 miles per hour or more, or hail three-fourths of an inch in diameter or greater) is likely to develop. 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 television for more information.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
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 and everyone should go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio or television, and wait for the "all clear" by the authorities.