What to do during lightning and thunderstorm
How to prepare for lightning and thunderstorms
- Thunderstorm watch means: monitor weather conditions through a local media station or website and take appropriate precautions.
- Thunderstorm warning means: seek shelter indoors and continue to monitor weather conditions.
How do I know if a storm is coming?
View public weather alerts for Alberta and subscribe to Alberta Emergency Alerts to stay informed.
Staying safe during lightning and thunderstorms
- Get to a safe place and shelter-in-place. A safe location is a fully enclosed building with basic amenities.
- Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do not protect you from lightning.
- If no sturdy building is close by, get into a metal-roofed vehicle and close all the windows.
- If you are in a car, do not touch any exposed metal connected to the car.
- Do not handle electrical equipment, telephones or plumbing. These are all electrical conductors. Using a computer or wired video game system, taking a bath or touching a metal window frame all put you at risk of being struck by lightning. Use battery-operated appliances only.
- Secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture or garbage cans that could blow away or cause injury.
- Stay away from tall objects, like trees, poles, wires and fences. If trapped outside, take shelter in a low-lying area. Be aware for possible pooling water or flooding.
- If you are in water, get to shore as quickly as possible. Lightning that hits water travels well beyond its point of contact. Small boats with no cabin provide less protection than boats with enclosed cabins.
- Once you’re in a safe location, you can calculate the distance of the lightning strike. After the flash, count off the seconds until the thunder is heard. Divide the seconds by three to arrive at the distance in kilometres. Example: 15 seconds/3 = 5 km away.
- Stay inside a safe location until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
After lightning and thunderstorms
- Inspect any damage that may have occurred to your property.
- If you were evacuated due to flooding, learn the steps to take once you come back home.