Florida sees a number of thunderstorms and serious weather disturbances each summer. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other forms of extreme weather can be deadly. Each year, across the country, over two hundred people are killed by thunderstorms alone. In many cases, these fatalities are caused by flash flooding or lightning. In addition to the fatalities, some serious Florida head injuries and other types of injuries are caused by severe storms each year.
Florida thunderstorms can cause many types of injuries. Hail can cause head injuries as well as bruising during a thunderstorm. Driving through a serious storm can also easily lead to car accidents, due to the poor visibility that blinding rain can cause. Many Florida car accidents each year are caused by bad weather and by storms.
In addition to these risks, Florida thunderstorms can also lead to lightning strikes. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a rainfall area, so even if you do not think that you are close to a storm, lightning can still affect you. Fast-moving thunderstorms, especially, tend to create surprising lightning strikes. Slow-moving Florida thunderstorms, on the other hand, have a different risk: flash flooding. Flash flooding occurs when dry creek beds or slow streams suddenly become filled with rushing water from a thunderstorm. Flash floods can cause a danger on roadways and can even carry people away. In addition, severe thunderstorms may also bring tornadoes as well as strong straight line winds. Both can damage buildings and trees, potentially causing injuries to those indoors.
If there is a thunderstorm in your area, it is a good idea to seek out shelter at once. Listen to updates about the storms on your local radio or television station. A battery-operated or hand-crank weather radio is a good investment, as it will allow you to get emergency information and updates even if a storm knocks out your power. Follow directions you hear about seeking shelter.
If you hear thunder during a thunderstorm, you are likely close enough for lightning to reach you. In general, the smaller the waiting time between a strike of lightning and the sound of thunder, the closer the storm is to you. If you can count to at least thirty between lightning and thunder, you are roughly 15 miles away from the storm and should be relatively safe. If the storm is any closer, remain indoors and do not allow children to play outside.
During a thunderstorm, it is important to avoid taking a bath or shower. It is also important to not talk on corded phones. This is because electricity can work its way to you through telephone lines and metal plumbing pipes if your home is struck by lightning. If you are outdoors during a thunderstorm and need to seek shelter, avoid low-lying areas and any areas close to metal poles or trees. Squat low to the ground to avoid getting struck. Get away from any metal objects, such as golf carts or bicycles.