When Thunder Roars…Go Indoors!!!
June 20th to June 26th is Lightning Safety Awareness Week.
An Introduction to Lightning
Lightning can be fascinating to watch, but is also extremely dangerous. During the past 30 years, lightning has killed an average of 58 people per year in the United States, and injured an average of about 300 people.
So far in 2010, there have been 8 people killed by lightning nationwide. 4 of those have occurred in June alone. In 2009, a total of 34 people died as a result of lightning strikes, all were outdoors and 82 percent of them were males.
Few people understand the dangers of lightning. Many people do not act promptly to protect their lives and end up putting themselves, and in some cases, others at risk.
Watch for signs of developing thunderstorms on warm summer days. Once you hear thunder, you are potentially close enough to get struck. That is the time to move indoors or to a place of shelter. Remember that the strike happens first, then the thunder, so waiting to hear the thunder is not always a good rule. There are scenarios when only one or two lightning strikes occur from fairly innocent looking showers. Given the low level of predictability with lightning, you are better off not taking chances.
Overall, it is a good idea to be educated on how lightning forms, the related dangers, various safety rules, and some background on the medical issues. This information may save your life some day.
For additional information, please check out the NOAA webpage dedicated to lightning safety at: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov