RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Thunderstorms develop almost every afternoon across central North Carolina this time of year, and can create dangerous conditions for those caught outside.

After Thursday’s deadly lightning strike in Washington, D.C., Meteorologist Lance Blocker traveled to Raleigh’s National Weather Service to discuss lightning safety tips. 

“We always encourage people to go indoors. ‘When thunder roars, go indoors.’ It seems simple, but that’s exactly what people should do,” Meteorologist Barrett Smith said.

Smith’s statement is backed up by recent research. 

A 2020 study from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that nearly all lightning strike fatalities in the U.S. from 2006 through 2018 were people who were caught outside in storms.

It is just as important to give storms plenty of time to get away before returning outside. 

“Usually rain will drive people indoors since they don’t want to be stuck out in the rain. When it stops raining, they quickly want to go back outside to resume activities, and lightning often strikes outside of the rain too.”

Smith said that lightning often strikes up to 10 miles away from storms, referring to it as “blue sky lightning,” so it is important to remain aware when a storm is either approaching or departing your area.

As we close out this summer, take extra precautions when storms are possible and always have a plan to seek shelter.