Thunderstorms & Lightning

Thunderstorms are characterized by flashes of lightning and claps of thunder [1]. They are common in Hong Kong and happen more frequently during April to September. During these months, there are more incidents of people being struck by lightning, which can lead to loss of lives. From 2012 to 2016, 12 people were injured and 1 died from being struck by lightning [2]. In 2018, a teenage hiker was struck and killed by lightning in Ma On Shan [3]. Although this kind of accident may seem uncommon, it can lead to tragic consequences. You may refer to the following tips on how to prevent being hit by lightning and how to take care of yourself [1] [4] [5] [6].

Prepare Now
  • Pay attention to thunderstorm warnings from the Hong Kong Observatory.
  • Identify sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play for shelter in case of thunderstorms.
Survive During
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. When you receive a thunderstorm warning, go indoors immediately or seek shelter in buildings if you are working outdoors.
  • If you are engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, boating and swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately. Keep away from trees or masts, which are likely to be struck by lightning.
  • Managers of outdoor sports facilities and lifeguards at swimming pools should be vigilant about changes in weather, refer to the "Lightning Location Information" webpage, and give appropriate instructions to users of the facilities.
  • Since lightning current is conducted away through the ground, you should not lie down especially when the ground is wet. Instead you should crouch down to minimize the area of contact between you and the ground.
  • Do not touch aerials, water taps, pipes, wire fences and similar metal installations. Remove all metal objects (e.g. gold ornaments, watch or metal frame glasses) from your body.
  • Avoid using plugged-in electrical appliances (e.g. telephone and computer) and running water. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
Be Safe After
  • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside.
  • Look out for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately.