I was sitting in my apartment Thursday night, and I was calm. I was watching a movie I had saved on my DVR, but I was checking Twitter on my phone to keep up with any severe weather information. I don't know how many lightning strikes there were, but it was something to see, from the safety of my living room.

According to the NOAA, each year in the United States, more than 400 people are struck by lightning. On average, about 70 people are killed and others suffer permanent neurological disabilities. Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. If you hear thunder, a thunderstorm is close enough to pose an immediate lightning threat to your location.

Here are some tips to keep you safe if you are outside an a storm strikes.

-Be sure to have a plan set where to go for safety if lightning is imminent and postpone all outdoor activities while being sure to check your local forecast for thunderstorm watches and warnings.

-Get to a safe place. Substantial buildings provide the best protection. Once inside, stay off corded phones and stay away from any wiring or plumbing.

-Stay inside! Do not go back to your outdoor activities until 30 minutes have passed since the last thunder was heard.

GreenLight Designs (jwgreen)/Flickr
GreenLight Designs (jwgreen)/Flickr

While the National Weather Service issues severe thunderstorm watches and warnings for storms that produce damaging wind or hail, watches and warnings are NOT issued individually for lightning. All that lightning can put on a great show, but just make sure you are safely indoors.

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