We are entering the heart of severe weather season across Upstate New York. It’s important to know where you should go if you see lightning in the distance or hear the faint sound of thunder.

What You Need To Know

  • Always monitor the latest forecasts before spending time outdoors

  • Avoid running water, including baths and showers

  • If you suspect your house has been struck by lightning, call 911

  • A hard-topped vehicle is quite safe if you can't get to a sturdy building

Monitor the latest weather forecasts and make sure there isn’t a possibility of a thunderstorm if you plan on spending a prolonged period of time outdoors.

Lighting strike
(Getty Images)

When thunder roars, head indoors!

Avoid running water–that includes baths and showers. Also, stay away from windows.

If you can’t get inside a building, getting inside a hard-topped vehicle is a fairly safe place to be. If lightning strikes the vehicle, the current goes around the car and actually exits through the bottom of the car.

If you suspect your house has been struck by lightning, the best thing to do would be to exit the structure, make sure everyone is out of the house, find another safe place and call 911. You might expect lightning to produce a massive fire immediately, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you can get a lightning strike and it’ll be a smoldering fire in your attic.

(Photo by Sarah H.)

What are the odds of being struck by lightning?

Your odds depend on your behavior when thunderstorms are in the area. If you take the lightning threat seriously and always get inside before lightning becomes a threat, your personal odds of being struck are near zero.

Here are the numbers for the U.S., according to the National Weather Service:

  • Average number of deaths per year from lightning strikes: 22
  • Average number of injuries per year from lightning strikes: 198
  • Odds of being struck in a given year (based on estimated deaths and injuries): 1 in 1,509,000
  • Odds of being struck in your lifetime (80 years): 1 in 18,864
  • Odds you will be affected by someone struck (10 people for every 1 struck): 1 in 1,886

Our team of meteorologists dives deep into the science of weather and breaks down timely weather data and information. To view more weather and climate stories, check out our weather blogs section.