By Jeff Foley
Polk County Communications Division 

Summer Lightning Season is Approaching - Know How to Stay Safe


Last updated 4/19/2023 at 1:53pm

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Lighting can strike anywhere in our area, night or day. If you hear thunder, you are withing range of this deadly phenomenon.

Florida has long been known as the lightning capital of the United States. In 2022, Polk County led the way in central Florida with 285 lightning strikes per square mile.

Lightning is a leading cause of storm-related injury and death. Lightning strikes can result in cardiac arrest. Only about 10% of people struck by lightning are killed but the remaining 90% are left with varying disabilities. In addition to lightning and thunder, thunderstorms can feature winds over 50 mph, hail, flash flooding and tornadoes.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare for thunderstorms and lightning:

• Know your risk and sign up for Polk County warnings by visiting

• Consider buying surge protectors to protect your appliances and electronic devices.

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The most dangerous places to be during an electrical storm are on the water, under a tree, or in an open space. If caught in the open, make yourself as low as possible and avoid damp ground. Lightning will always follow the path of least resistance to and from the ground.

• Create an emergency plan that includes identifying sturdy buildings near where you live, work, study or play.

During a thunderstorm you can stay safe by:

• Going indoors – into a building or a car with a roof – when you hear thunder.

• Avoiding using electronic devices connected to an electrical outlet.

• Avoiding running water, including showers.

• Avoiding driving on flooded roadways.

Finally, once the storm passes, make sure it's safe before going outside. Watch for flash flooding. Also, watch for downed power lines and trees. Report them immediately.

For more information on prepping for disasters, visit


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