Lightning safety tips from National Weather Service
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Mid-Columbia, including the Tri-Cities, through 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Possible thunderstorms could bring large hail, gusty winds and heavy rain showers, according to the National Weather Service.
The possibility of showers and thundershowers Wednesday afternoon in the Tri-Cities was 30 percent, increasing to 70 percent in the evening, according to the weather service forecast.
A red flag fire warning also was issued until midnight.
Any lightning-sparked fires could spread quickly in the dry grass of the Mid-Columbia, unless rain showers help extinguish them.
People should go indoors as soon as they hear thunder, advises the weather service.
If a building is not available, a hard-topped metal vehicle can provide some protection.
If neither a building nor car is nearby, avoid open areas and also stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike taller objects, whether a tree or a person standing in a field.
Stay away from metal, such as wires and fences. that can conduct electricity from a lightning strike.