MET OFFICE THUNDERSTORM ADVICE: Stay safe in thunder and lightning

Thunderstorm illuminated by lightning. Picture: Getty Images

Thunderstorm illuminated by lightning. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The national Met Office has issued advice on what to do before, during and after a thunderstorm is expected.

Before the thunderstorm:

- Lightning can cause power surges so unplug all non-essential appliances, including the television.

- If you get caught out in a thunderstorm seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder you are already within range of where the next ground flash may occur, lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the centre of a storm.

During the thunderstorm:

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- Telephone lines can conduct electricity - so avoid using the phone if possible.

- Metal pipes can also conduct electricity - the Met Office advises to avoid using taps and sinks.

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- If you are caught outside its recommended that you avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects.

- Activities such as golf, rod fishing or boating on a lake should be avoided.

- Be aware of metal objects including golf clubs, golf buggies, fishing rods, umbrellas, motorbikes, bicycles, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs, wire fencing and rails. If you are in a tent, try to stay away from the metal poles

- If you find yourself in an exposed location it may be advisable to squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and with head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible and do not lie down on the ground.

- If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately.

After the thunderstorm:

- Avoid downed power lines or broken cables.

- If someone is struck by lightning, they often suffer severe burns. The strike also affects the heart, so check if they have a pulse.

Driving in a thunderstorm:

- If you are caught driving in a storm wind up the windows and stay inside your car. The frame will act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers inside and on to the ground.

- Thunderstorms can bring sudden gusty winds, those most at risk would include cyclists, motorcyclists and high sided vehicles.

- Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds - always keep a safe distance.

- Keep your speed down, lowering your speed will lower the distance you travel when buffeted around by the wind.

- Hail storms can be extremely dangerous to drive in reducing your ability to see and be seen, as well as causing damage to your vehicle. If hail is severe, stop and pull over to a safe place and remain inside the vehicle.

Click here for more information from the Met Office.

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