All Weather News

Lightning Safety: What You Need to Know

28 Jul 2014, 6:09 pm

lightning_Flickr_John Fowler
Photo Credit: Flickr/John Fowler

To many, lightning safety may seem like a no-brainier. When you see lightning, you seek shelter — getting out of harm’s way. But, with a number of lightning deaths in weeks, it’s never a bad idea to review lightning safety rules.

Here are some things to keep in mind while you enjoy outdoors:

1) Elevated locations, like hills and mountains, aren’t a great place to be during a storm. You are more exposed to the elements and lightning strikes.
2) Lying flat on the ground — if caught outdoors during a storm — could increase your probability of being struck. The more of you that touches the ground, the greater the area of conductivity. Stay low and keep moving toward shelter.
3) Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from it’s point of origin. Just because you hear can’t hear thunder, doesn’t mean lightning isn’t a threat.
4) When you see lightning or hear thunder move indoors. Don’t wait until the last minute.

From 1940 to 2013 there were 1965 deaths attributed to lightning. That’s a 30-year-average of about 51 people per year. In the last few years that’s dropped precipitously. Since 2006, when 48 people were killed, lightning deaths have been on the decline. Thus far, in 2014, 16 people have lost their lives due to lightning strikes. Of those, six were in the “lightning capital of the world,” Florida.

Believe it or not, since 1940 lightning has killed more people than hurricanes(1484 deaths). And since 2006 nearly 80% of lightning deaths have been men.

So, it’s always a good idea to stop what you’re doing and head inside when storms roll through.

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