Contents area


Because thunderstorms often develop very suddenly and quickly, and their path is not easy to accurately predict, there is potentially very little time to prepare. You should therefore be prepared for sudden, heavy rain showers, hail, as well as wind gusts and lightning.


Top bar Navigation

Swiss federal authoritiesSwiss federal authorities

What to do if a thunderstorm is forecast

Because thunderstorms often develop very suddenly, and their path is not easy to accurately predict. There is often very little time to take suitable protective action, In stormy weather, you should therefore be prepared for sudden, heavy rain showers, hail, gusts of wind and lightning.

Potential impacts and hazard categories of storms

  • When planning outdoor activities, consider what protections and alternative routes are available
  • Protect outdoor items (e.g. pot plants, garden furniture) from wind and hail and retract any awnings
  • If possible, park your car in a garage or under some form of shelter (hail damage)
  • Unplug electrical appliances (e.g. TVs, computers) to protect against overvoltage
  • Shut doors and windows

What to do during a thunderstorm

Can you already see lightning and hear thunder? The length of time between the flash of lightning and the roll of thunder will tell you how far away the storm is: if you divide the number of seconds between the lightning and thunder by three, this gives the distance from the thunderstorm in km. For example: you see a flash of lightning, with thunder following 12 seconds later. This means that the thunderstorm is approximately 4 km away.

  • Avoid mountain ridges and peaks, trees, masts and towers, as well as open terrain (e.g. clearings, football pitches), all of which are at risk of lightning strikes
  • Seek shelter in a building or car
  • Clear away any metal items, as they conduct current if hit by lightning and this can lead to burns/electrocution
  • In open terrain, if lightning strikes nearby, assume a crouched position (with your feet closed) with as little of your body as possible touching the ground (do not lie down flat)
  • Stay away from water
  • Avoid flooded stretches of road, riverbeds and steep slopes

What to do after a thunderstorm

The storm is over, and there is no longer any immediate danger. By doing certain things straight away, such as clearing away 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
  • Call the fire service if dangerous conditions need to be dealt with or barriers set up
  • Do not touch any fallen cables
  • Watch out for falling branches
  • Take care around watercourses that have burst their banks

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

  • Check your home for damage
  • Notify your house insurance company of any damage you find
  • See the PLANAT website for further information on precautionary measures