The National Weather Service and several other agencies will recognize the week of June 20-26, 2010, as National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. In the United States, an average of 58 people are killed each year by lightning. In 2009, there were 34 confirmed lightning-related fatalities nationwide, up slightly from 28 the year before. Overall, confirmed lightning-related deaths have been on the decline. Hundreds of injuries, many of which may go unreported, are attributed to lightning each year, as well. In fact, already in 2010, a single lightning strike injured nine people at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
Click here to learn more about this important awareness week and to find other valuable links to lightning safety related materials - including Leon the Lion’s Lightning Safety Game. Additionally, the NWS has released a brochure titled, "Lightning Safety for You and Your Family" which can be downloaded here. Read the inspiring story of lightning victim Christina Bryan and her sister, Ellen. Our NWS Lightning Safety page has complete information regarding this dangerous weather phenomena. Remember, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors."
In Wyoming over the past two decades, lightning has caused more direct fatalities and injuries than any other kind of weather phenomena. Going back to 1950, records indicate four deaths and 101 injuries attributed to tornadoes. Since lightning statistics began being kept in 1994, six deaths and 54 injuries have occurred from lightning in the Cowboy State. All six lightning-related deaths occurred in the mountains of Wyoming - namely the Teton, Wind River, Snowy, and Medicine Bow ranges. Two of the more dangerous locations have been Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks where lightning has caused one death and 36 injuries since 2000. Read more about the dangers of lightning in Wyoming.
This year the NWS is embarking on a campaign with Wyoming Game and Fish to highlight boating safety in thunderstorms using the catch-phrase, "When Thunder Roars, Head to Shore." Recently, Riverton Little League Baseball was recognized as a StormReady supporter for their efforts in promoting lightning and storm safety in advance of hosting the 2010 Wyoming State Little League Baseball tournament.
In 2008, National Weather Service offices in Riverton and Cheyenne teamed with Powder River Coal, LLC and University of Wyoming Athletics to heighten awareness of the dangers posed to athletes by lightning. The Wyoming High School Athletics Association (WHSAA) distributed the materials to coaches from around the state at their summer coaching clinic. The importance of having a lightning safety plan in place, especially for your sports, cannot be underscored enough. Distribute your own copies and read more by downloading the the Wyoming Lightning Safety brochure and poster below.
Wyoming Lightning Safety
Wyoming Lightning Safety
Poster - 12" x 18" (.pdf)
Broadcast media are encouraged to download any of the three lightning safety awareness week public service announcements. The announcements are 30 seconds in length, are Wyoming-centric, and are in .mp3 format. Each of the announcements focuses on a different aspect of lightning safety important in Wyoming.