Thunderstorm States

Thunderstorms can develop in any geographic location, but most frequently within regions at mid-latitude where warm moist air collides with cooler air. With that said, thunderstorms can occur in most regions of the United States. You should be prepared for a thunderstorm if you live in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Severe Thunderstorm

About Thunderstorms (and Lightning)

Thunderstorms, sometimes called electrical storms, lightning storms, or thundershowers, are not by themselves the greatest cause of damage and injury. However, thunderstorms can create lightning, hail, strong winds, tornadoes, and flash floods. These related occurrences are the reason it’s important to take thunderstorms seriously and to be prepared ahead of time.

Lightning is probably the greatest threat from a thunderstorm. Lightning is responsible for killing 300 people every year. This is primarily because lightning is unpredictable. It can strike during heavy rain, and can even strike at distances of 10 miles away from any rain. Most fatalities occur to people caught outside during the summer months.

Thunderstorm Warnings

Authorities issues two different types of thunderstorm warnings:

Thunderstorm Watch

A thunderstorm in your area is likely.

Thunderstorm Warning

A thunderstorm in your area is occurring, or will likely occur soon. Take shelter immediately if asked to do so by authorities.

Important Thunderstorm Preparedness Tips

  • Go inside if, there is less than 30 seconds between the time you see lightning, and the time you hear thunder. Remain indoors for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder clap.
  • Remove dead trees and branches that could fall during a severe thunderstorm.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage. Consider moving these objects inside a garage.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains. This will help prevent injuries should your windows break.

Preparing for a Thunderstorm

Being prepared for a thunderstorm or any other type of disaster requires preparation beforehand. There are three important steps you should complete in preparation for a thunderstorm. To make this even easier, Essential Packs provides you with a FREE online Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide that takes your step-by-step through the process:

Having the proper emergency preparedness kit, having a plan, and knowing what to do before a thunderstorm strikes, will greatly improve you and your family’s chances of being safe. Complete the 3-Step Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide today!

Get Storm Survival Kit

Getting an Emergency Preparedness Kit for your home, office (or school), and car(s) is an essential first step in being prepared for a thunderstorm. Emergency Preparedness Kits from Essential Packs, provide you and your family with the emergency supplies your family needs to last for 3 days (72 hours). Deluxe Kits from Essential Packs are compliant with FEMA's guidelines and include important items like: emergency food and drinking water, flashlights, radios, first-aid supplies, sanitation supplies, emergency blankets, waterproof ponchos, and much more.


Get A Thunderstorm Preparedness Kit

Before it's too late...

Residential Office School Car
Get a thunderstorm emergency kit


For additional help on selecting the right kit, visit Step 1 - Get A Kit of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide.

Make a Plan

In order to know what to do when a thunderstorm occurs, you need to create a Family Emergency Plan. Sit down with your family members and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in the event of a disaster or emergency.

To make this easy, Essential Packs provides you with a Family Emergency Planning Document that you can download for FREE. Simply open this PDF document and fill-in the blanks, then, print a copy for each family member, and store one copy in your Emergency Preparedness Kit.

You should update your Family Emergency Plan every six months, as phone number, work locations, and other important information could change.

For more help on creating a Family Emergency Plan, visit Step 2 - Make A Plan of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide.

Be Informed

The final step to getting prepared is to be informed about what to do before, during, and after a thunderstorm. FEMA's In-Depth Citizen's Guide to Disaster Preparedness helps you do this by providing you with comprehensive emergency preparedness information a variety of disasters.

Visit Step 3 - Be Informed of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide to download FEMA's comprehensive, 200 page book called, "Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness".