UNDATED -- Severe Weather Awareness Week continues today with the topics of thunderstorms, lightning and hail.

The Stearns County Emergency Management Department says thunderstorms are the most common summer storm in Stearns County from May through August. These storms are often accompanied by lightning and hail.

Signs of a thunderstorm include dark skies, thunder clouds, lightning and strong winds. Todd Krause is a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. He says if you're not a trained severe weather spotter he advises leaving the storm watching to the officials.

You should check the weather forecast before you plan any outdoor activities and designate a safe area in your home.

If you're unsure whether to seek shelter, the Emergency Management Department suggests you use the "30-30" rule. Count the time from when you see lightning to when you hear thunder. If it is 30 seconds or less, the storm is within six miles and you should seek shelter immediately. They suggest that you wait 30 minutes after the last time you hear thunder before you leave your safe area.

Your shelter should be in a basement or internal room with no windows. If you live in a mobil home it should be anchored to the ground and you should know where the safe shelter is located.

Tomorrow's topic is how to prepare for spring flooding.