Recommendations during a thunderstorm

General recommendations before a thunderstorm

Because thunderstorms often develop very suddenly and quickly, and their path is not easy to predict, there is potentially very little time to prepare. In stormy weather, you should therefore be prepared for sudden, heavy precipitation (rain or hail), as well as wind gusts and lightning.

What to do in the event of an approaching thunderstorm:

  • Keep an eye on local weather developments, and act appropriately, according to the information you receive on the conditions;
  • Heed the push notifications on the MeteoSwiss App;
  • Don’t go hiking in the mountains or walking in forests;
  • Stay away from water;
  • Don’t leave potted plants, sun umbrellas, awnings, light-weight plastic chairs etc. unsecured and out in the open (hail and wind damage);
  • If possible, park the car in a garage (hail damage);
  • Cover sensitive plants with a protector (for hail);
  • Unplug electrical appliances (e.g. TV, computer) from the main outlets.

General recommendations during a thunderstorm

When there is thunder and lightning, the storm is near enough to endanger people who are out in the open. The shorter the length of time between the lightning and thunder, the closer the storm. The rule of thumb is: if you count the number of seconds between the lightning and thunder and divide by three, this gives the distance from the thunderstorm in km.

Advice on what to do in a thunderstorm, or if one is in the direct vicinity:

  • Keep an eye on local weather developments, and act appropriately, according to the information you receive on the conditions;
  • Heed push notifications on the MeteoSwiss App;
  • Avoid mountain ridges, exposed trees, groups of trees, masts and towers, all of which are at risk of lightning strikes;
  • Seek shelter – in a building or car (acts as a Faraday cage);
  • If there is no shelter in sight, assume a crouched position;
  • Do not go hiking in the mountains or walking in forests; avoid exposed locations;
  • Stay away from metal objects and water;
  • If a thunderstorm takes you by surprise when swimming, get out of the water immediately;
  • Drive slowly on flooded stretches of road, or avoid these altogether;
  • Avoid stream beds and steeply inclined slopes;
  • Always follow the official recommendations.

General recommendations after a thunderstorm

The storm is over, and there is no longer any immediate danger. By undertaking specific measures straight away, such as clearing up debris and cleaning up, you can prevent further damage.

In addition, please take note of the following points:

  • Administer first aid or call an ambulance if anyone has been injured;
  • Do not remain inside a damaged building;
  • Notify the fire service, so that dangerous conditions can be resolved, or a barrier erected;
  • Do not touch any fallen cables;
  • Watch out for falling branches;
  • Take care around water that has burst its banks.

The following actions and procedures are recommended in order to avoid subsequent damage:

  • Check your house or apartment for storm damage;
  • Notify your house insurance company of any damage you find;
  • See the PLANAT website for further information on precautionary measures.