Come in out of the rain.

And, thunder.

And, lightning!

That’s what Billy Tomlinson and his wife did Friday night (June 15) and they couldn’t have made a better decision.

Not more than 10 minutes after the couple had been sitting on their back patio, a bolt of lightening hit a silver leaf maple tree about 50 yards away in their neighbor’s yard, and blew bark all over the patio (where they had just been sitting) and backyard.

Before that strike, Tomlinson said he and his wife, Melody, heard an earlier strike that seemed close. As it turned out, that strike hit another tree on Don January Street, about 500 yards away from the Tomlinson home.

“We knew it was close because of how quickly we heard the thunder after the flash,” Tomlinson said. Tomlinson said that was the strike that drove them inside.

Then he said, Melody Tomlinson, looked out the kitchen window after she saw a flash and heard thunder simultaneously, which she knew meant the lightning was extremely close.

That’s when Billy Tomlinson turned on the back porch light and saw his neighbor’s tree. He said, “It (tree) looked like it had been skinned.”

“It was a big clap of thunder,” Tomlinson said. “It kind of shook the whole house.”

With the weather forecast for Stephenville looking like rain and more rain for the rest of the week, and because it is National Lightening Safety Week, it might be a good time to review the “30-30 Rule.”

The rule is … as soon as you see lightning start counting … if you don’t make it to 30, get indoors because you are in a danger zone. You could be hit.

Then, wait for 30 minutes after seeing the last flash before resuming activities outdoors.

While inside avoid paths lightning may travel like plumbing and wiring. Don’t take a shower or get near plumbing fixtures; they can become good conductors. The same goes for the telephone or any other electrical equipment — put it up or put it down — but don’t take the chance of running a lightning bolt through your ear or hands.

If you are outside, and there are no enclosed buildings, your vehicle with a metal roof and sides, is your second best protection. But, the same rule applies as it did in your home, don’t touch anything that leads outside and could become a conducting path.

Did you know?

Only floods kill more people than lightning. It is the #2 weather killer in the United States over a 30-year period, killing more than hurricanes and tornadoes combined The #1 weather killer in Florida is lightning. Florida is the highest in lightning deaths and injuries in the U.S. Lightning inflicts life-long debilitating injuries on at least a 1,000 people a year and kills about 60 people in the U.S. each year. Though symptoms vary from person to person some of the more frequent symptoms of those hit by lightning include memory deficit, sleep disturbance, chronic pain, and dizziness. Survivors sometimes have difficulty in processing information, can be easily distracted, exhibit personality changes and it is possible for symptoms not to appear for months after the strike. Lightning causes about $5 billion of economic impact in the U.S. each year! Pennsylvania leads the U.S. in lightning damage! Keraunomedicine is the medical study of lightning casualties.

Information in this article was supplemented by, www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov