By Laura Garcia, program specialist with Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — In Germany, storms can move in very quickly. In nearly a blink of an eye, Bavaria’s summer sun can be replaced with rain and wind. Here are some simple steps that you can take to remain weather savvy and safe:


If you hear thunder, understand that there is a rare chance you can be hit by lightning. The weather clouds do not need to be directly overhead to bring danger.


Lightning can travel several miles ahead of the storm. During a storm, avoid bodies of water and tall trees, as both of these things attract lightning.


According to NASA, a bolt of lightning – peaking at approximately 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit – is hotter than the surface of the sun. So take the advice of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “When thunder roars, go indoors.”


If you are occupying an area that is prone to flash flooding, then a storm — even if it is nowhere to be seen — can be dangerous.


Protect yourself by knowing the landscape and terrain that surrounds you. If you are in a valley or river bed, then floods can rush in from higher groups very rapidly.


If you are driving and come across a flooded road, NOAA advises, “Turn around, don’t drown.” You have no way of knowing what the road condition is like under the water, or what may have been washed away. It only takes a few inches of running water to wash away a car.


Germany has many areas that experience heavy fog. If you have to drive in fog, then the best thing to do is slow down. Use your fog lights, and never use your high beams — as it will create glare and greatly reduce visibility.


If the fog is extremely heavy, then you may want to turn on your hazard lights and pull off the road into a parking lot or business area. If that is not possible, then consider pulling as far off the road as it is safe, and keep your hazard lights flashing.


Editor’s Note: Please see the list below for more information on what to do when bad weather hits:


  • If you see something, say something. Report any hazards, (such as downed trees and branches) to your local authorities.


  • Register in Alert! today. Ensure you and your family receive Army Alert messages before bad weather hits. Alert is the U.S. Army’s mass warning notification system. The system notifies users in several ways: as a pop-up on their workstation computer, an email to work and home addresses, a text message to their cell phone, and a voicemail to their work, home and cell phones. Add up to 10 phone numbers and email addresses. Visit