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Prepare for thunderstorms and gusty showers in Pennsylvania through Wednesday evening

The National Weather Service issued a weather warning for thunderstorms and gusty showers until 6 p.m. for Carbon, Monroe, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks counties at 2:02 p.m. Wednesday.

“Some showers and thunderstorms will move across the area during the evening. Some of the heavier showers or thunderstorms may produce locally gusty winds up to 40 mph and small hail. Locally there may also be downpours, leading to some brief, minor flooding. All heavier showers and thunderstorms are expected to weaken or move out to sea during the evening,” the weather service explains.

How to protect yourself from lightning strikes: Safety tips from experts

Lightning strikes occur about 25 million times each year in the United States, with most of these electrifying events occurring during the summer months. Unfortunately, about 20 people are killed by lightning strikes each year, according to the Weather Service. The danger from lightning strikes increases as thunderstorms approach, reaching its peak when the storm is directly overhead and gradually diminishing as it moves away.

To ensure your safety during a thunderstorm, follow these recommendations:

1. Lightning protection plan:

  • When you are outdoors, it is important to have a clear plan for seeking shelter in the event of a lightning strike.
  • Watch the sky for ominous signs and listen for sounds of thunder. If thunder is heard, it is an indication that lightning is nearby.
  • Find a safe shelter, preferably indoors.

2. Indoor safety measures:

  • If you have found shelter in a building, refrain from using corded telephones, electrical appliances or plumbing and do not approach windows and doors.
  • Lightning can follow conductive paths and these precautions reduce the risk of electrical surges.

3. Wait for the all-clear:

  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike or clap of thunder before resuming outdoor activities.
  • Remember that lightning can still strike even after a storm appears to have passed, so be careful.

If no shelter is available in the house:

If you are outdoors during a thunderstorm and do not have access to shelter, take the following steps to maximize your safety:

  • Avoid open fields, hilltops or mountain ridges where the risk of lightning strikes is greater.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees and other prominent objects. In forested areas, stay close to lower stands of trees.
  • If you are traveling in a group, make sure that everyone is spread out to prevent lightning current from being transmitted between people.
  • Camping outdoors during a thunderstorm is strongly discouraged. If you have no other options, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low-lying area. It is important to note that a tent does not provide protection from lightning strikes.
  • Do not approach bodies of water, wet objects, or metal objects. Although water and metal do not attract lightning, they are good conductors of electricity and can pose significant risks.

In summary, vigilance and preparation are your best allies when you are at risk of being struck by lightning. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of lightning accidents and put your safety first.

Driving on wet roads: Safety tips for wet weather

When heavy rain sets in, the risk of flooding and dangerous driving conditions increases. Whether it's persistent rain or rapid runoff, it's important to be prepared. Here are some valuable safety tips from the weather service to help you stay safe during heavy rain:

Be careful in case of flooding:

  • During heavy rain, do not park or walk near culverts or drainage ditches as fast-flowing water can pose a great danger.

Keep the safety distance:

  • Follow the two-second rule to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. In heavy rain, allow an additional two seconds to compensate for reduced traction and braking.

Reduce speed and drive carefully:

  • On wet roads, it is important to reduce speed. Slowly ease off the accelerator and avoid sudden braking to prevent skidding.

Choose your lane carefully:

  • Stay in the middle lanes as water often collects in the outside lanes.

Prioritize visibility

  • Turn on your headlights and watch for other vehicles behind you and in your blind spot, as they are particularly difficult to see through rain-soaked windows.

Be careful on slippery roads:

  • During the first half hour of rain, the roads are at their most slippery due to a mixture of rain, dirt and oil. Be especially careful during this time.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

  • Large trucks and buses can reduce your visibility with tire spray. Avoid following them too closely and overtake them quickly and safely.

Pay attention to your windshield wipers:

  • Overloaded wiper blades can reduce visibility. If rain severely reduces your visibility, pull over to the side of the road and wait for conditions to improve. Seek shelter in rest areas or places sheltered from the wind.
  • If you can only stop at the side of the road, position your vehicle as far from the road as possible, ideally behind guard rails. Leave your headlights on and activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers to your position.

In heavy rain, these precautions can go a long way to keeping you safe on the road. Remember to check weather conditions and follow the instructions of local authorities to ensure a safe journey.

Navigating in heavy rain: safety tips for wet roads

In heavy rain, safety is paramount. Follow these guidelines from the weather service to navigate wet roads and avoid danger:

Be careful in case of flooding:

  • Do not play in or near culverts or drainage ditches as fast-flowing water can sweep you away during heavy rain.

Keep the safety distance:

  • Use the two-second rule to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, and add an additional two seconds in heavy rain.

Slow down and be careful:

  • When it is raining and the roads are wet, slow down. Take your foot off the accelerator and reduce the speed gradually. Never brake suddenly, otherwise the car may skid.

Choose your lane carefully:

  • Stay in the middle lanes as water often collects in the outside lanes.

Visibility is important:

  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Pay attention to other vehicles behind you and in your blind spot, as they are particularly difficult to see through rain-soaked windows.

Be careful on slippery roads:

  • Be especially careful in the first half hour after the rain starts. Dirt and oil on the road surface mix with water and make the road slippery.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

  • Do not drive too close behind large trucks or buses. The spray created by their large tires will limit your visibility. Also be careful when overtaking; if you must overtake, do so quickly and safely.

Pay attention to your windshield wipers:

  • Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades. If visibility is so limited that you can't see the side of the road or other vehicles within a safe distance, it's time to pull over and wait for the rain to subside. It's best to stop at rest areas or other sheltered areas. If the side of the road is your only option, pull over to the side of the road as far as possible, preferably to the end of a guardrail, and wait for the storm to pass. Keep your headlights on and turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.

By following these safety measures, you can significantly reduce the risks and ensure your well-being during heavy rain. Stay informed about weather conditions and follow the advice of local authorities to ensure your trip is safe and unharmed.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service from United Robots that uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.

Anna Harden

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