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Outdoor activity must be suspended when lightning is a maximum of six miles away.  The "30/30 Rule" should be followed when evaluating lightning danger: if lightning is 30 seconds away, it is too close, and do not resume play for 30 minutes from the last seen flash or last heard thunder.




The preferred method of determining a lighting strike is using an electronic lighting detection device. However, the Flash-to-Bang method for detecting lightning in the area is also acceptable. To utilize this method:

  • When a lightning flash is spotted begin counting until you hear the first sound of thunder.

  • The number of seconds between the flash of lightning and sound of thunder is then divided by 5. This number represents the distance, in miles, from the lightning hit.

  • For example, when the Flash-to Bang count reaches 30 seconds, the lightning has struck 6 miles away. The 30-30 rule states that when the Flash-to-Bang count is 30 seconds or below, all activity should be stopped and all individuals should seek a safe shelter. 


You cannot resume play for 30 minutes. It may seem safe to return to activity after the storm has passed, but this is not true. Therefore, every time lightning is seen or thunder is heard, the 30-minute clock should be reset.


Lightning should be monitored with the first flash of lightning or clap of thunder, no matter how far away the storm is.  It is critical to monitor how far away the lightning is occurring and how fast the storm is approaching, relative to the distance of a safe shelter.


In the event that play is suspended, all individuals, including athletes, coaches, referees, and spectators, should immediately go indoors or to their cars to wait for the storm to pass.  If unable to reach safe shelter, stay away from the tallest trees or objects (such as light poles or flag poles), metal objects (such as fences or bleachers), individual trees, standing pools of water, and open fields.




Lightning safety experts recommend waiting 30 minutes after both the last sound of thunder and after the last flash of lightning is at least six miles away, and moving away from the venue.



The team coaches are responsible for ensuring that their players are safe during the storm. If lightning occurs during a practice or a clinic, the team coaches and/or the technical staff coaches are responsible for monitoring weather conditions.  The coaches are responsible for ensuring that all players are safe during the storm.

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