WFO Denver/Boulder

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT MON JUN 19 2006

JUNE 18TH THROUGH 24TH HAS BEEN DESIGNATED AS COLORADO LIGHTNING AND
WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS WEEK.

IN THE UNITED STATES...THERE ARE AN ESTIMATED 25 MILLION CLOUD TO
GROUND LIGHTNING FLASHES EACH YEAR...AND EACH ONE IS A POTENTIAL
THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY.  DURING THE PAST 30 YEARS...LIGHTNING
DEATHS HAVE AVERAGED 67 PEOPLE PER YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES.   THIS
IS MORE THAN THE AVERAGE OF 65 DEATHS PER YEAR CAUSED BY TORNADOES
AND MORE THAN THE AVERAGE OF 14 DEATHS PER YEAR CAUSED BY HURRICANES.
HOWEVER...BECAUSE LIGHTNING USUALLY CLAIMS ONLY ONE OR TWO VICTIMS AT
A TIME...AND IT DOES NOT CAUSE THE DESTRUCTION LEFT IN THE WAKE OF
TORNADOES OR HURRICANES...LIGHTNING GENERALLY RECEIVES MUCH LESS
ATTENTION.  DOCUMENTED LIGHTNING INJURIES IN THE UNITED STATES AVERAGE
ABOUT 300 PER YEAR. LAST YEAR ACROSS THE UNITED STATES...38 PEOPLE WERE
KILLED BY LIGHTNING AND SEVERAL HUNDRED WERE INJURED. IN COLORADO THERE
WAS ONE LIGHTNING FATALITY AND 14 REPORTED INJURIES.

MANY PEOPLE DO NOT ACT IN A TIMELY MANNER TO PROTECT THEIR LIVES AND
PROPERTY...AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND
ALL THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH THUNDERSTORMS AND LIGHTNING.

YOU NEED TO BECOME AWARE OF THE SITUATIONS THAT PUT YOU AT A GREATER RISK
OF BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING...AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE THAT RISK.
WHILE NEARLY ALL PEOPLE TAKE SOME PROTECTIVE ACTIONS WHEN RAIN...HAIL AND
WIND ARE OCCURRING WITH THUNDERSTORMS...MANY LEAVE THEMSELVES VULNERABLE
TO BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AS THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH... DEPART...OR ARE
NEARBY.  LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE 10 MILES AWAY OR FARTHER FROM THE RAIN AREA
OF A THUNDERSTORM.  THAT DISTANCE IS ABOUT AS FAR AS YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER.
IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER...YOU COULD BE IN DANGER OF BEING STRUCK BY
LIGHTNING.

INSIDE BUILDINGS...YOU MUST AVOID ACTIVITIES WHICH PUT YOUR LIFE AT RISK
FROM A POSSIBLE LIGHTNING STRIKE. YOU SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND
DOORS AND AVOID CONTACT WITH ANYTHING THAT CONDUCTS ELECTRICITY WELL.  YOU
MAY ALSO WANT TO TAKE CERTAIN ACTIONS WELL BEFORE THE STORM THREATENS...IN
ORDER TO PROTECT PROPERTY...SUCH AS UNPLUGGING ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT.

ALSO...IN THE UNFORTUNATE EVENT THAT A PERSON IS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING...
MEDICAL CARE MAY BE NEEDED IMMEDIATELY TO SAVE THE LIFE OF THE PERSON.
CARDIAC ARREST AND IRREGULARITIES...BURNS...AND NERVE DAMAGE ARE COMMON
WHEN PEOPLE ARE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.  HOWEVER...WITH PROPER TREATMENT...
INCLUDING CARDIO PULMONARY RESUSCITATION IF NECESSARY...MOST VICTIMS
SURVIVE A LIGHTNING STRIKE...ALTHOUGH THE LONG TERM EFFECTS ON THEIR
LIVES CAN BE DEVASTATING.

MOST LIGHTNING DEATHS AND INJURIES OCCUR DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING
...WHEN LIGHTNING IS MOST LIKELY TO OCCUR AND WHEN PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKELY
TO BE CAUGHT OUTSIDE.

THE CHANCE THAT YOU WILL BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING IN THE UNITED STATES IS
ABOUT 1 IN 700,000 FOR EACH YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER...YOUR CHANCE OF
BEING STRUCK WILL DEPEND ON WHETHER YOU CONSISTENTLY PRACTICE ALL THE
LIGHTNING SAFETY RULES.

LIGHTNING STARTS AROUND HALF OF THE FOREST AND RANGELAND WILDFIRES ACROSS
THE STATE.  COLORADO AVERAGES AROUND 2500 WILDFIRES EACH YEAR.  MANY OF
THESE LIGHTNING CAUSED FIRES OCCUR WITH VERY LITTLE OR NO RAIN.  THESE
STORMS OFTEN GENERATE GUSTY WINDS...WHICH CAN FAN THE FLAMES OF THE FIRE.
NOAAS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PROVIDES DAILY FIRE WEATHER FORECASTS
DURING THE WARM SEASON...AND SPOT FIRE WEATHER FORECASTS FOR THOSE WORKING
PRESCRIBED BURNS AND WILDFIRES YEAR AROUND.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING OR LIGHTNING SAFETY...VISIT
NOAA'S LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEB SITE AT...

     http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov ...use lower case only...

OR THE LIGHTNING WEB SITE OF NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PUEBLO AT:


     http://www.weather.gov/pub/?n=ltg.php ...use lower case only...


TOM MAGNUSON
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE
PUEBLO COLORADO


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