While a tall, leafy tree might seem like a nice place to hide during a lightning storm, a video from Saratoga Springs, New York, shows why you should resist the urge to shelter there.
The surveillance footage taken by Saratoga Spa State Park near the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last week shows a large tree being split in half and brought to the ground by lightning.
The National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine, described the video as "breathtaking" and showing "the incredible power of lightning."
The weather agency's advice if you're ever outside in such severe weather?
"When thunder roars, go indoors!"
Watch the footage:
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been five lightning fatalities so far this year, one of which was a Texas man in his back yard near a tree at the time.
When a safe, indoor location is not nearby during a storm, NOAA provides the following suggestions:
- Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.
- Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees.
- If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from [lightning].
- Stay away from water, wet items (such as ropes) and metal objects (such as fences and poles). Water and metal are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances.