Watching a lightening storm, from a safe place, is one of my favorite things to do when camping. It's one of those wild, scenic, opportunities that just pop up! Most lightening victims are close to safe shelter but wait too long to get there. So treat it as if a wild animal is heading toward you (only it's okay to run from it).
Nobody wants to stop what we are doing because of a little thunder. But it's sure better than spending the rest of the day in the hospital with everyone saying "you ruined our camping trip!"
Check the weather before you head outdoors. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, consider changing your plans. If you must press on, familiarize yourself with weather patterns of the area and make adjustments. For instance, thunderstorms in the Rocky Mountains frequently come up in the afternoon. So plan your hiking trip for early morning and to be back in camp by noon.
If you still get caught by a thunderstorm here are a few tips from NOAA:
+ When you hear the first clap of thunder start seeking shelter.
+ Tents and picnic shelters are NOT safe, a vehicle or trailer with a metal roof is safe.
See more tips and places to avoid here: Lightening Safety Outdoors