During a storm, buildings can be damaged; falling trees and loose debris can cause a danger to passers-by, and damage or blocking of key routes can impact travel. If you live by the coast, storms may cause flooding.
In thunderstorms, lightning is also a risk. Lightning strikes the ground in Britain about 300,000 times a year. For climbers, fishermen, walkers, golfers, and other at-risk people, it’s important to consider how to minimise the danger. When a storm or thunderstorm is forecast, follow the Ready Scotland advice below.
Before a Storm
- Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows or cause danger:
- Check the weather forecast, and keep up-to-date with the latest weather warnings.
- Check on vulnerable neighbours or relatives and help them prepare;
- Park vehicles in a garage, if available;
- If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.
During a Storm
- Keep up-to-date with the latest weather warnings, flood advice and road conditions, and follow any travel advice from Police Scotland;
- Take care driving on exposed routes such as bridges, coastal routes or high open roads. Delay your journey or find alternative routes if necessary;
- Don’t go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress;
- If you lose power, call 105 – it’s free of charge and will put you through to your local network operator who can help and advise you;
- If possible, enter and leave your house through doors on the sheltered side of the building, closing them behind you.
After a Storm
- Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging. Call 105 to report damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put someone in danger. If there’s a serious immediate risk, phone the emergency services;
- Make sure that vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.
Before a Thunderstorm
- Seek shelter if possible. When you hear thunder, you’re already within range of where the next ground flash may occur - lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the centre of a storm;
- Unplug all non-essential appliances - including the television - as lightning can cause power surges.
During a Thunderstorm
- Avoid using a landline phone, taps and sinks - telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity;
- If outside, avoid water and find a low-lying open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles or metal objects.
- Be aware of metal objects that can conduct or attract lightning, including:
- Golf clubs;
- Golf buggies;
- Fishing rods;
- Mobility scooters;
- Wire fencing and rails;
- If you’re in a tent, try to stay away from the metal poles.
- If you find yourself in an exposed location, squat close to the ground with your hands on your knees and head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground with your body as possible - do not lie down. If you feel your hair stand on end, drop to the above position immediately.
- Met Office have guidance on staying safe in a storm.
- ROSPA have produced a fact sheet on lightning.