NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Watching lightning flash in the distance is a beloved summertime pastime for many Middle Tennesseans. But lightning is dangerous. If you can hear thunder, you are too close.

Here in Middle Tennessee, lightning is one of the biggest weather threats during the summer months.

“We have so many lakes and waterways around here. The number one, most threatening thing in the summer is lightning,” said Krissy Hurley, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Nashville. 

From 2009 to 2018, the state of Tennessee averaged 4 lightning deaths per year. Even if you do survive, lightning injuries can be devastating and have life-long impacts. 

Hurley says it’s imperative to head inside when you hear thunder, “For our area, lightning is the fourth weather-related killer in the state of Tennessee. So it’s something to take very seriously. When you hear thunder, it’s time to go indoors.”

So if you are out enjoying a summer day and you hear thunder in the distance, stay safe and head inside. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of this summertime weather hazard.

For more summer weather safety tips, click here.