What to Do Before a Thunderstorm

  • Use a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature to keep you informed of watches and warnings issued in your area. The tone- alert feature will automatically alert you when a watch or warning is issued.
  • If planning a trip or extended period of time outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible. Knowing what weather could happen helps you be prepared to respond if necessary. Having a raincoat, umbrella, and disaster supplies kit available will make it easier to deal with severe weather if it occurs.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent. Coaches of outdoor sports teams should have a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature during practice sessions and games. Threatening weather can endanger athletes, staff, and spectators. Many people take shelter from the rain, but most people struck by lightning are not in the rain! Postponing activities is your best way to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
  • Keep an eye on the sky. Pay attention to weather clues around you that may warn of imminent danger. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind, which may be signs of an approaching thunderstorm.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings. Look for places you might go should severe weather threaten.
  • Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.