Severe Weather Awareness Week - Day 2

...Lightning Awareness Day...


This week has been proclaimed Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama by Governor Robert Bentley. During this special week, Alabamians are encouraged to learn and or review the proper safety precautions necessary for protecting their lives during severe weather.


Before we jump into Lightning Safety, we would like to remind all Alabamians about the Special Weekly  NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards test that will be conducted on Wednesday, February 19th.  The National Weather Service Office in Birmingham will conduct the weekly radio test at the special time, at 9:00 am on Wednesday, February 19th. This special test will replace the usual weekly radio test that is normally conducted between 11 am and noon every Wednesday. The information message going along with this weekly radio test will highlight appropriate preparedness and safety precautions concerning tornadoes. Please use this special test to check the operation of your NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and run through your safety plans. If inclement weather develops on Wednesday, February 19th, this Special Weekly Radio Test will not take place until Friday, February 21st, at 9:00 am.


Now on to Lightning Safety...


The summer months of June through September are the deadliest as far as lightning is concerned. In an average year, 3 people will be struck and killed by lightning in Alabama and at least 6 will be injured.


Here are some Lightning Safety Rules...


Move inside a well constructed house, a large building or an all-metal vehicle. Stay away from electrical appliances and do not use the telephone. If you are in a boat, get off the water and into a  substantial building or at least into an enclosed and all-metal vehicle with the windows up.


If you are caught in an open metal boat, lie down in the boat with cushions between you and the metal sides and bottom.


If you are caught outdoors during a storm and are too far away from appropriate shelter, you only have one last ditch effort to lower your chances of being directly struck. Crouch down low, but do not lie flat on the ground. 


If in a ravine or valley, be alert for the threat of flooding. The best advice is to check the forecast and watch the sky for storm development and not put yourself in the situation where you are out in the open when a thunderstorm occurs.


Move away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts, bicycles, tractors and other metal farm equipment. Avoid wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes and drains, railroad tracks and any other metal surfaces.


Avoid isolated trees. Stay away from the tallest trees. If caught in the woods, pick a small grove of trees as your shelter and stand at least 5 feet from the trunk of the nearest tree to avoid flying bark if the tree is struck.


Avoid standing in a small isolated shed or other small ungrounded structure.


If you are with a group of people in an open area and can not get to appropriate shelter, spread out before you take last ditch efforts.


NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards will provide information and safety tips all this week. You can utilize these safety rules to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of severe weather.

For additional details or for any questions, contact Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist-in-Charge, at 205-664-3010, ext 222 or John De Block, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at ext 223. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.