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10 Myths About Lightning

        Science | Storms

2
If You're Outside, Lie Flat on the Ground
If you're outside and have nowhere to run, curl up in  the "lightning crouch" to wait out the storm. tBoyan/Getty Images
If you're outside and have nowhere to run, curl up in the "lightning crouch" to wait out the storm. tBoyan/Getty Images

Being caught outside in a storm can be a little unnerving. It shouldn't be surprising if some people simply find themselves unable to decide what to do, so they curl up in the fetal position and start weeping. The good news is that this is actually pretty close to what the experts suggest.

Gone are the days when the prevailing wisdom was that lying flat on the ground was the safest way to weather a lightning storm outdoors. Nowadays, the best bet is to curl into what the pros call a "lightning crouch." Squat down with your feet together and tuck your head toward your knees with your hands covering your ears. When lightning strikes open ground, it can send an electric current as far as 100 feet (30 meters) across the surface. That could mean trouble if you're sprawled out with your chest in the dirt. The crouch positon allows you to stay low while touching the ground as little as possible [source: NOAA]. Note that this position is no substitute for hightailing it indoors during a storm, but if you're truly trapped outside, it's better than lying flat.