TAMPA, Fla. — This week is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Here in Tampa Bay, we are looking ahead to increasing chances of thunderstorms in our area for the rest of the week and this weekend.

It may surprise you to learn that in a typical year, Texas has more lightning strikes than Florida and any other state. But that is due to the size of Texas.  Florida is the leader in terms of the density of lightning.

Check out this information from the National Lightning Safety Council.

As a result, according to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida leads the nation in the number of claims filed in 2018 for lightning damage. 

In Florida, our rainy season is from June through September. During these four months, most days feature thunderstorms in some parts of the state. For the entire country though, July is the deadliest month for lightning. People are outside enjoying the warm weather at the time when it is also the peak month for lightning in the U.S.

So, how can you stay safe?

Plan ahead. If you are going to be outside, check the forecast with our Weather on the Nines and use the Spectrum Bay News 9 app to alert you to lightning near your area. You can also get Klystron9 updates on your cell phone.  The app is free and available from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from the thunderstorm. So if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning, even if it’s not raining at your location. 

Get inside a building and stay away from windows. If there is no building nearby, get into a car with a hard-topped roof.

Wait 30 minutes after hearing thunder before you go back outside. 

Teach your kids that "When thunder roars, go indoors!" It is never safe to be outside during a thunderstorm.