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Aug 01

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Lightning Safety

Did You Know?

In the United States there are an estimated twenty-five million lightning flashes every year!1

A spark of lightning can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit and contain 100 million electrical volts!2

These are some pretty staggering numbers and if you are struck by lightning they don’t paint a very pretty picture.  So what is the best way to keep from being struck by this amazing force of nature?  Do your best to stay away from it.

Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

Lightning is the number two storm related killer. In Kentucky, more people are killed by lightning in an average year than tornadoes. Although severe thunderstorm warnings are NOT necessarily issued for lightning, you should move to shelter when thunder is heard as lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles away from where rain is falling or where the storm appears to be.

  • If outside, go to a safe shelter immediately, such as inside a sturdy building. A hard top automobile with the windows up can also offer fair protection.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get out of the water immediately and move to a safe shelter away from the water!
  • If you are in a wooded area, seek shelter under a thick growth of relatively small trees.
  • If you feel you hair standing on end, squat with your head between your knees. Do not lie flat!
  • Avoid: Isolated trees or other tall objects, bodies of water, sheds, fences, convertible automobiles, tractors, and motorcycles.
  • If inside, avoid using the telephone (except for emergencies) or other electrical appliances.
  • Do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm.

Keep these safety tips in mind and stay away from the potentially deadly effects of lightning strikes.  Visit the National Weather Service’s Website for more on lightning safety and the science of lightning.

1 “Lightning Science.” National Weather Service Lightning Safety <http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/science.htm>

2 “Lightning Science.” National Weather Service Lightning Safety <http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/science.htm>

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