If you can hear thunder, the greatest danger in a storm — lightning — is nearby

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Earlier this week, we focused on the list of things that make a thunderstorm severe — hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes.

Not on that list? Lightning. The frequency or intensity of cloud-to-ground lightning doesn’t have anything to do with whether a storm is classified as severe, but lightning is still one greatest dangers in any thunderstorm.

Each year in the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning. Twenty people were killed last year, including one here in central North Carolina. The saddest part is that most of those tragedies can be easily avoided.

The most important thing to know is that no place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

An enclosed substantial building — that means something with electricity or plumbing — is where you want to go. Sheds, tents, picnic pavilions, porches and baseball dugouts do not offer any lightning protection. Cars are a good option, but make sure the windows are rolled up and don’t touch the frame of the car.

When you’re inside, avoid the plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets — if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to put off doing the dishes.

If you have outdoor plans, just pay attention to the forecast. If thunderstorms are possible, know where you’ll go for safety and how much time it will take to get there. We’ll be keeping you ahead of the storms throughout the spring and summer on CBS 17.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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