Three fine days and a thunderstorm

King Charles II once remarked that the Great British summer consisted of "three fine days and a thunderstorm". So far this summer we have been in luck. There have been a lot more than three fine days before the thunderstorms arrived.

Thunderstorms are the most powerful type of storm in the Earth's atmosphere and can involve lightning, powerful winds and heavy rainfall - even hail in some cases. Thunderstorms cause approximately 100 deaths every year around the world, with lightning killing more people annually than tornadoes. Lightning can reach temperatures of nearly 28,000 °C and strike up to 10 miles away from the centre of a thunderstorm. Fortunately, the chance of you being struck by lightning is more than one in a million.

Thunderstorm video

Outside activities such as golf and fishing can be dangerous and should be avoided during a thunderstorm. If you are outside stay safe by finding an open space, avoiding places with tall pylons, large trees and water. Crouch down and touch as little of the ground as possible. This makes it more difficult for an electric current to reach earth. Better still, if you can, stay in a vehicle ensuring all the windows are wound up.

One of the biggest myths regarding thunderstorms is that lightning can't strike in the same place twice - it can! It is important to protect your home from power surges, caused by lightning, by ensuring all non-essential appliances are unplugged. Avoid using the phone and metal appliances, such as taps, as both metal and water conduct electricity and therefore lightning is more likely to strike.

The impacts of a thunderstorm are often more dangerous than the storm itself. Be aware of flooding, fallen trees or fallen power lines. Travel disruption may also occur as a result of a storm, so ensure you check you travel arrangements before embarking on a journey.

More information about staying safe this summer can be found on our summer safety pages.

Keep up to date with the weather warnings and forecasts on our website, apps and social media feeds in order to prepare for severe weather conditions such as thunderstorms. 

Lightning and rain from today's thunderstorms

Learn more about thunder and lighting on our learn about the weather pages.

Need some inspiration for activities to stay dry and avoid the storms? Why not check out Vue's selection of extreme films about extreme weather or learn about British Art at the Tate.