DIRECT STRIKE: Lightning is seen over Laurel Bank Park as Toowoomba prepares for the Carnival of Flowers.
DIRECT STRIKE: Lightning is seen over Laurel Bank Park as Toowoomba prepares for the Carnival of Flowers. Kevin Farmer

The safest place to be when lightning strikes

"THE saying is, under a tree is the worst place to be during a lightning storm - and this is true."

SES South West Region regional manager Robert Bundy has warned of the dangers of lightning strikes as storm season nears.

"When you look at the bureau of meteorology maps, you can see there are a large number of lightning strikes in the Darling Downs during squalls," Mr Bundy said.

"The best place you can be is indoors - and you should wait there until the storm passes.

"If you are outdoors, make sure to stay away from trees and tall objects, it is known that there is a zone around these things that is affected if lightning strikes."

Mr Bundy said the SES team had been preparing for Christmas period.

"We've had a couple of reminders recently that storm season is upon us," Mr Bundy said.

"We've already been to our safety workshops, where we were taught about preparation.

"We've already checked all of our equipment, which includes tarps, ropes and machinery, so we are ready when the time comes.

"We can never be sure what the weather will bring - we just have to be prepared."

In the event of a lightning storm in the Downs, swimming and fishing are a no go.

Water acts as a natural conductor, allowing the electrical discharge from the strike to spread.

Showering is fine as long as your pipes are earthed properly.

Roads are hazardous during heavy rainfall, when visibility is decreased, however a vehicle is one of the safest places to be during a lightning storm.

As long as you have the windows closed and you don't try to touch the outside, drivers will be protected from potential strikes.

The vehicle, if struck, acts like a Faraday cage, rerouting the electricity through the metallic structure into the ground.

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