Prepare and stay safe during a storm or thunderstorm
Advice on staying safe during a storm or thunderstorm in the UK. Find out how to prepare and protect your home.
Storms in the UK can wreak havoc, causing power cuts and damage to property. They can also be frightening experiences.
Storms and thunderstorms can happen at any time, making it crucial to know how to stay safe. The UK often experiences high winds, thunder, lightning, and flooding during a storm, causing problems such as damage to property, flooding, and in some instances physical harm.
Prepare and stay safe during storm weather warnings with our helpful guidance.
British Red Cross support line
If you need help, our support line volunteers can provide (where possible) free and confidential emotional support and signposting to local services.
Call 0808 196 3651
(Open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 8pm on Wednesday.)
Storm tracking and weather warnings
Download the British Red Cross Emergency App and set emergency alerts for your area. If you want to track a storm in the UK, check online for weather warnings and updates:
Preparing for a storm
Make sure your home is ready for a storm by following this advice:
- Check for loose or cracked roof tiles that could easily fly off in strong winds. Also, check aerials and satellite dishes are properly attached.
- Remove loose bricks from around the chimney stack and inside the home, and move furniture from the area directly below. Avoid it until the storm has passed.
- Clear moss and leaves from guttering to prevent them from overflowing.
- Secure loose objects that could be blown away and cause damage e.g. a trampoline.
- Remove hazardous branches that are loose or overhanging your garden. Make sure to speak to the property owner if the trees are not on your property.
- Secure fencing and gates. Ensure they are in good condition.
- Park vehicles in a garage or away from buildings, trees, walls, and fences.
- Lightning can cause power surges. Unplug non-essential electrical appliances.
- Close and secure windows and exterior doors especially larger doors like in a garage. Ensure they are water-tight and sealed. If you have storm shutters make sure they are closed.
- Make sure loft access is secure and, if possible, bolt down doors.
- Prepare an emergency kit. Include a torch, radio, matches, and a list of emergency contact numbers. Use our guide to build your own kit.
- Find out who supplies your energy
- Find out who supplies your gas
What to do in a storm
A storm can come on quickly. Make sure you know what to do wherever you find yourself:
At home/in a building
- Stay inside until the storm has passed.
- Shut all windows, close doors, and keep away from windows.
- Do not use a landline telephone unless it's an emergency.
- If your electricity is cut off during a storm, follow our advice on staying safe in a power cut.
- Do not attempt any repairs while the storm is ongoing, wait until it has passed. Be aware that even after, there is still a danger.
- If you must leave the house, use an exit or entrance that's sheltered from the storm.
- Stay away from boundary walls and fences; it they fall, you may be injured.
- If you're not at home, don't attempt to travel. Instead, seek shelter nearby in a building or vehicle.
- Metal objects conduct and attract lightning. Stay away from golf buggies, fishing rods, wheelchairs, and bicycles.
- If you are in a tent, stay away from the metal poles.
- Do not use an umbrella in a lightning storm.
- Do not shelter under a tree, cliff or cave during a lightning storm.
- Immediately get out of water if you are swimming or in a vessel e.g. a kayak or boat.
- If you can't find shelter and a lightning storm is close by, the Met Office advises: "squat close to the ground, with hands on knees and head tucked between them. Try to touch as little of the ground as possible; do not like down on the ground."
- If you have to travel in a storm, inform a family member or friend of your plans.
Driving in a storm
- Don't drive unless your journey is necessary, instead delay your journey or change plans.
- If you are already driving, exit the highway and park in a safe location away from trees or overhead power lines.
- Heavy rain and high winds make driving treacherous. Drive slowly and stick to the main roads.
- Take extra care when in highly exposed areas and around high-sided vehicles.
What to do after a storm
- Once a thunderstorm has passed, do not touch any electrical or telephone cables that have been blown down
- Don't walk too close to walls, buildings, and trees as they could have been weakened
- If you feel safe and can, check on vulnerable neighbours or family members
- If you want to report a fallen tree, contact your local council. Find your local council website.
- If a fallen tree or hazard is an immediate danger to life, please call 999
Gas emergencies or outages
If your gas supply is low or you can smell gas, take the following steps and call your gas supplier immediately.
What to do if you smell gas
- Open windows and doors
- Turn off your gas supply at the meter
- Turn off all gas appliances
- Don’t use any electrical switches, sparks may cause a fire
- Put out any naked flames and don’t smoke or light matches
- Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 for more advice
Gas outage tracking sites
Find out who your supplier is using the Meter Point Administration Find My Service search tool.
- Northern Gas Network
- Cadent Gas
- Wales & West Utilities
- Manx Utilities
- SGN Natural Gas
- Firmus Energy
- Phoenix Energy
Further information on storms
Find more information and support before, during, and after a storm.
Mental health and wellbeing support
Storms can have a huge impact on people's lives. The effects can be felt for months or years after the storm. We've developed wellbeing guidance to help adults and teachers manage difficult situations.
Get advice on:
- how to provide emotional support in a crisis and help people in distress
- how to prepare primary school students for weather emergencies
- how teachers can help young people in distress