With summer here, many Manitobans will be spending time outside taking part in activities such as swimming, gardening and camping. However, with more time spent outside comes weather-related risks, with one of the biggest dangers being lightning.

Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, explained that lightning is the discharge of a huge amount of current that comes out of a thunderstorm.

“It is the most common, most prevalent threat that we face in the summer,” Hasell said in an interview with CTV Morning Live on Monday.

“We get thousands and thousands of thunderstorms in Manitoba, across the Prairies pretty much every year.”

The meteorologist noted that it’s important for people to pay attention to the forecast, as a thunderstorm can form in as little as 20 minutes if the conditions are right.”

“Every thunderstorm is defined by lightning. Every thunderstorm is therefore dangerous even if there isn’t an alert or a severe thunderstorm watch or a severe thunderstorm warning.” Hasell said.

Hasell warned that lightning can cause damage, injury and even death, which is why it’s important to take the necessary precautions.

For those who are in the city during a thunderstorm, it’s best to seek shelter in a well-constructed building.

“[A building] with electrical, with plumbing,” Hasell explained.

“But you don’t want to interact with those things since all of those things can conduct electricity, so you don’t want to be playing with that.”

Anyone who is outdoors should try to get to a low-lying area, because you don’t want to be the tallest object in the region.

“It won’t reduce your risk to nothing, because lightning hits where it hits, it doesn’t necessarily only hit the tallest objects around,” the meteorologist said, adding that it’s also good to avoid metal fencing and to get off the water unless you’re on a boat with a grounding plate.

As for whether vehicles are appropriate shelter, Hasell said it depends on what the car is made of.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace.