Lightning tends to strike the tallest object, so athletic fields can be dangerous places during thunderstorms. When lightning hits metal bleachers, fences, light poles, field or soccer goal posts, the charge travels through the metal and shocks everyone in its path. Lightning can also “splash” or “ricochet” off these objects and strike people standing nearby.

Before the Storm

  • Check the weather forecasts before going outdoors.
  • Watch for signs of an approaching storm such as distant lightning or thunder and darkening or towering clouds.
  • Make sure you have a NOAA Weather Radio to alert you to watches or warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

When You Hear Thunder

  • Immediately move inside a sturdy building or an automobile for greater protection
  • Avoid picnic or rain shelters
  • Close all windows and outside doors 
  • Stay off the telephone and away from electrical outlets and metal pipes


  • Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees or low brush
  • If you are on the water, move to land immediately and find a low spot
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest possible target while minimizing your contact with the ground
  • If you can not get into a building, seek shelter in a vehicle with a hard top roof. Close all windows and doors and avoid touching any inside metal
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder to resume outdoor activities