STORM WEEK: Lightning safety

Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 6:05 PM CDT
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About 10% of all thunderstorms in the United States are considered "severe." A severe thunderstorm – by definition – consists of 58 mph wind gusts or quarter-sized hail.

Every thunderstorm – however – has the potential to be fatal due to lightning. Lightning strikes claim 47 lives on average each year across the country. 2/3 of these deaths occur during leisure – like boating, fishing, or camping. And 80% of victims between 2006 and 2018 in the U.S. were MEN.

If you’re in the pool or another body of water, the moment you first hear thunder – head inside. Lightning can strike over 10 miles from where it is raining.

Never seek shelter under a tree, as lightning is attracted is attracted to taller objects. Indoors is always the best shelter, just try to stay away from electrical equipment.

And if you are out driving, your car will actually provide good protection since it acts as a Faraday cage. Basically, the lightning strikes the top of the car, goes around the body, and then into the ground. The car may sustain some damage, but you will be fine.

So remember, when thunder roars, head indoors.

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