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You are here: Home > County Offices > Fire Rescue > Emergency Management > First Steps > Get A Plan > Thunderstorms and Lightning

Although all thunderstorms are dangerous and can be lethal, about 10 percent produce dangerous winds or hail that will likely exceed thresholds known to cause significant damage to well-built structures or cause bodily harm. These are known as severe thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms produce hail the size of a dime or larger and/or winds of 58 miles per hour or greater. The National Weather Service issues Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for a particular county, or portions of it, when the above conditions are expected to be met or are ongoing.

Lightning kills more people annually in Florida than all other weather hazards combined. Anytime you are outdoors in Florida, you are at risk of being struck by lightning.

For Thunderstorms:

  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Listen for Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings.
  • When severe thunderstorms threaten, go to a small interior room on the lowest floor of your home, school or business. Avoid windows.
  • To improve your odds at reducing loss of life or injury from severe thunderstorm winds, follow this rule of thumb: 'put as many walls between you and the outside wind'.
  • In vehicles, avoid driving into severe thunderstorms. Consider pulling over or delaying travel.
  • Prior to a severe thunderstorm, move vehicles into garages or carports to help prevent damage, time permitting.

For Lightning:

  • Go inside a building or an automobile, but not a convertible or a golf cart.
  • Avoid water (swimming pools, lakes and rivers), beaches and boats.
  • Stay away from doors, windows, metal indoor fixtures and electrical devices.
  • Stay off the telephone.
  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Avoid open high ground and isolated large trees.
  • Do not lean on vehicles.
  • Get off bicycles and motorcycles.

Preparedness Brochures:


For Kids:

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