On average, lightning kills ROUGHLY 49 people in the United States each year. Hundreds more are severely injured, and some suffer life-long health problems.
It’s important to know how to stay safe when thunderstorms are near and lightning threatens you. Normally you can hear thunder about ten miles from a storm and since lightning can strike more than ten miles out from a thunderstorm, the sound of thunder means you’re close enough to be struck.
If you can see lightning, there’s a quick way to figure out how close it is. Sound travels around a mile every five seconds, so count the seconds between the flash and the boom – for example ten seconds equals two miles.
So when you hear thunder, it’s time to go inside. IF YOU CAN’T GET INSIDE, a metal topped car is second best and contrary to popular belief, cars aren’t safe because “the rubber tires insulate you from the ground”! The metal body of the car acts as a protective cage around you and lightning will dissipate around the car body and jump to the ground. In the car, don’t lean on the doors and inside, stay off wired phones and away from other electronics, sinks, tubs and showers.
If you’re caught outside, do NOT TAKE shelter under trees, light poles or any other tall objects. Lightning takes the easiest path to ground and the tallest object around is usually the main target. And if you’re in water, whether in a boat or not, leave the water for a safe place immediately when you hear thunder!
Youth sporting events and outdoor concerts and festivals are all major targets during thunderstorms, so when you take shelter, encourage others to do so and spread the word.
For WeatherNation, John Van Pelt.