If you can hear a clap of thunder, that means lightning is close enough to hit you. In fact, that lightning bolt could be about 10 miles away. Most of the time getting hit by lightning is avoidable, especially if you're outside.
As a siren blares at Tri-Cities Golf Club, it's more of a warning to golfers that it's about to thunder and lightning. "We try to get golfers in before it starts raining, if we can," said Fred Minor with Tri-Cities Golf Club.
Minor says so far this summer they've had to sound the siren at least 25 times. "We have carts on GPS and it shows up on the computer. We'll send them a signal or note to come back in," added Minor.
According to the National Weather Service summer is the top season for lightning strikes. News 5 stopped in the Emergency Room at Bristol Regional Medical Center and learned last summer they saw their fair share of cases. "We had a few lightning strike victims that came in and some of these victims had to be transferred to burn centers," said Physicians Assistant Timothy Zeolia.
If you are stuck outside, never seek shelter under a tree. Your car is actually a safe option, and you should wait 30 minutes until you hear the last clap of thunder. Or else you could get seriously hurt, even die, if you're hit by lightning.
"[It can] stop their heart, it can affect their renal function. It can also affect respiration as they're knocked unconscious," added Zeolia.
For Dave Ramsey, swimming at Haynesfield Pool, once those clouds start to turn gray he lets his friends know it's time to head inside. "Well I just say hey guys, there's a bad storm coming in. We better get going, we have to seek shelter immediately," he said.
When it comes to keeping your home safe from lightning, News 5 checked with an insurance agent and learned one alternative is to invest in lightning rods. Essentially if there is a lightning strike, the metal rod collects the strike and sends the bolt into the ground. It prevents a direct hit to your home, but that can be costly.
The cheapest option during a storm is to turn off and unplug all your appliances.