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Thunderstorms

Lightning is the second leading cause of direct weather deaths in the U.S., after floods, and results in more fatalities each year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined.   Awareness of certain lightning safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death.  

How to Prepare

  • Identify in advance a location (e.g., building, bus, personal automobile) that would be safe during a thunderstorm. Locations that offer little or no protection from lightning include tents, golf carts, open-sided shelters such as parking garages, or the open area under the stands at Princeton Stadium.
  • Keep abreast of weather forecasts and know the difference between a thunderstorm watch and warning.

What to Do During a Storm

  • Suspend outdoor activities and seek shelter as soon you hear thunder or see lightning. Do not wait for rain.
  • If you are caught outdoors during severe weather:
    • Avoid high ground, open spaces, and water.
    • Do not seek shelter under trees.
    • Avoid all metal objects including electrical wires, fences, machinery, motors, and power tools.
    • Avoid standing under tents, pavilions, bus shelters; while they provide protection from the rain, they do not provide protection from lightning. 
    • Crouch down and put your feet together. Place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.
    • If part of a group, spread out.  You should avoid being in close proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.
  • Persons injured by a lightning strike do not carry an electrical charge and can be touched safely. Call the Department of Public Safety at 609-258-3333, 911 from a campus phone or activate a blue light phone. Apply first aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so.

After the Storm

  • Suspend outdoor activities until at least 30 minutes after the last observed lightning flash or thunder clap.
  • Do not touch downed tree limbs or wires as they may be energized and can cause electrocution.
  • Follow instructions in case of power outage.

For More Information

Visit the National Weather Service's website on Lightning Safety

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