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Squat if you must: How to keep yourself safe during thunderstorms

Even during good weather, thunderstorm activities may still happen. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), thunderstorms are formed through convection. This is when the heat accumulated during the day contributes to cloud formation that includes cumulonimbus clouds or thunderstorms cloud.

Avoid Getting Struck
The energy from one lightning flash could light a 100-watt bulb for more than three months. Aside from starting fires, it can also damage electrical equipment. According to NOAA, 80% of lightning fatality victims are male, between the ages of 15 and 40.

It pays to be aware of cumulonimbus clouds. Remember that you are within striking distance of lightning when you hear thunder.

While going indoors is a must, it’s still best to stay away from windows and doors. Some parts of these fixtures are made of metal, a good conductor of electricity.

Monitor weather updates. PAGASA and Panahon TV releases real time updates such as thunderstorm advisories.

Minimize Outdoor Risks
Thunderstorms usually happen in the afternoon or evening. If you are outside when these activities begin, here are some reminders that will keep you safe:

• Avoid tall structures and open areas.
• Stay away from water such as swimming pools, beaches and rivers. Avoid getting wet and avoid wet items.
• Don’t lie flat on the ground. An electrical current produced by a nearby lightning strike can pass through your body—instead do the “thunderstorm squat.”

The Basics of a Thunderstorm Squat


Crouch low. Do not make yourself the tallest object within the vicinity. Keep your feet close together with heels touching. This will help the electricity to flow continuously from one foot to another.
Make sure that only a minimal part of your body touches the ground as you squat low. If lightning strikes, the current will most likely travel through your legs, keeping your vital organs like heart safe.
Cover your ears. Place your hands over your ears. This way, all your extremities are touching together, letting the current just pass through your body.