Summer weather hazards to watch out for | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel

  • The dangers of lightning increase in the summer due to increased thunderstorms and outdoor activities.
  • The summer heat and sun can be deadly if precautions are not taken.
  • Flash floods are an underestimated danger in spring and summer.
  • Rip currents, high waves and waterspouts should be watched at the beach.

Summer is officially here and with it comes several types of weather conditions that can be dangerous with more people going outside in hot weather.

Let’s take a look at some of the dangers the summer weather can bring and what you need to do to stay safe.

Remember Lightning Safety

Lightning is four times hotter than the sun, so the safest place during a thunderstorm is inside a building or in a hardtop vehicle.

Get to a safe place as soon as possible when you see lightning and stay there until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder before getting out.

Many are caught off guard in the summer by pop-up thunderstorms. Most deaths by lightning occur outdoors and are related to water or sports. June, July and August were the deadliest months for lightning from 2010 to 2021.

Lightning deaths by month from 2010 to 2021.

The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 15,300, but the odds of being struck in any given year are only 1 in 1,222,000, according to the National Weather Service. (NWS).

Lightning can strike up to 15 miles from the parent storm, so remember to pay attention to the weather and when thunder rolls, head inside. Also, have a plan if you will be far from shelter or a boat.

Heat-related illnesses and sunburn can ruin fun in the sun

More people die from heat than from any other climatic condition in the United States on average. Each year, 158 people die from heat, based on the 1992-2021 average, according to the NWS.

Everyone should take extreme heat seriously, but this is especially true for children, the elderly, and people with health conditions.

The first signs of heat illness are increased sweating and muscle cramps. This can progress to heat exhaustion or heat stroke and eventually death if treatment is not received.

If you start showing symptoms of heat illness, get away from the heat, drink non-alcoholic and decaffeinated beverages, take a cool shower, and rest.

(AFTER: 4 things extreme heat does to your body)

Sunburn and overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light are additional concerns. Too much sun can lead to first or second degree burns and possibly skin cancer.

(AFTER: The UV index: how at risk is your skin?)

To minimize your risk of heat illness and skin damage:

  • Limit sun exposure in the middle of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and apply 30 minutes before exposure and reapply every two hours.
  • Wear protective, lightweight, light-colored clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Drink more water than usual, even if you are not thirsty.

Warm temperatures promote the formation of ozone at ground level, which can lead to poor air quality. Those with respiratory illnesses may be at risk. The EPA recommends that strenuous outdoor activities be limited on days with unhealthy air quality.

Turn around, don’t drown

Flash floods are also more common in the summer. The NOAA Weather Prediction Center noted that 75% of all flash flood reports in the United States occurred from late April to mid-September, and 34% from June 10 to August 3, based on data from 2007-2017.

Flash floods refer to short-term flooding triggered by heavy rainfall over a relatively small area.

There are several reasons why flash floods become more frequent in the summer. Warmer temperatures and increased humidity can combine with a slow-moving system to produce heavy precipitation in a short time. Clusters of thunderstorms can also develop and trigger flash floods.

Motorists are stranded on a flooded section of Canal Road in Washington DC during a severe thunderstorm, Monday, July 8, 2019. (Dave Dildine/WTOP via AP)

Motorists are stranded on a flooded section of Canal Road in Washington DC during a severe thunderstorm, Monday, July 8, 2019.

(Dave Dildine/WTOP via AP)

Additionally, the southwest monsoon can bring slow-moving thunderstorms that dump torrential rains, and tropical cyclones or their remnants can also cause severe flash flooding.

To stay safe during a flash flood:

  • Do not drive in a flooded area.
  • If flood waters are near your vehicle, abandon it and immediately move to higher ground.
  • Be aware that 6 inches of water can cause a car to lose control and stall.
  • Cars can float in 12 inches of water and 24 inches can sweep your vehicle.

Do not attempt to wade through flood waters. Only 6 inches of water can topple a person.

Floods have killed an average of 94 people per year in the United States over the 10 years ending in 2020. That’s proof enough why you should avoid all floodwaters.

Rip currents, high waves and waterspouts are concerns at the beach

Rip currents are one of the many dangers to be aware of on the beach. Rip currents are strong but narrow currents that flow away from the shore.

Over 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards are due to rip currents. Rip currents have caused an average of 67 deaths per year over the past 10 years.

Large rip currents are more likely when a strong outflow is present. The water in a rip current is usually darker than the surrounding waters and is most often found in areas where waves do not break.

If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and back to land at an angle. If you can’t swim out, float or walk calmly until you’re out of the rip current.

High waves can also be dangerous, as large waves can surprise swimmers. So don’t turn your back on the ocean. Dangerous swimming conditions are also usually present in the high waves.

Waterspouts are another concern to watch out for at the beach. Waterspouts are tornadoes that develop over water and can develop with a thunderstorm or in good weather.

Fair weather waterspouts usually stay above water and move quite slowly, while those associated with thunderstorms can move landward.

Always be aware of weather, water conditions and the risk of rip currents.

The primary journalistic mission of The Weather Company is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


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