Stay Safe When Lightning Strikes

Posted on 4/5/2019 12:33:07 PM

As the calendar turns, the threats shift from winter hazards to springtime severe weather for Pennsylvania. Our severe weather season begins in April and peaks over the summer months before tapering off in August.

Statewide on average, tornadoes are most prevalent in May, with hail and wind damage peaking in June and July. Regardless, severe weather can happen at any time of the year, and it is critical to ensure that you know how to prepare for severe weather.


An average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning in the United States. To protect the IUP campus community, the university has installed an Earth Networks Weather Station and Lightning Detection System at Miller Stadium and South Campus. These will alert anyone outside on the campus grounds to the presence of lightning within a 10-mile radius.

If lightning is detected, a 15-second audible siren will sound, and a strobe light will begin flashing. The strobe light will continue to flash so long as lightning is being detected within the 10-mile warning range.  A 30-minute timer resets each time lightning is detected in the warning range. Once the storm has sufficiently passed and no lightning has been detected in the warning range for 30 minutes, the audible siren will send out three five-second blasts indicating “all clear.”

>When the Warning is Sounded

  • Cease outdoor activities
  • Seek shelter inside a building or hard-topped automobile


  • Open areas
  • Places near water
  • Isolated tall trees
  • Metal conductors such as fences or wires
  • Overhead wires or power lines
  • Elevated ground

Lightning strikes may be rare, but they still happen, and the risk of serious injury or death is severe. So, take thunderstorms seriously.

This message is brought to you by the Emergency Management Office.