Lightning Safety

During storm season from March through May, thunderstorms can frequently and sometimes with little warning and all of them produce lightning. More people are killed by lightning from Thunderstorms than lighting generated by tornadoes or hurricanes.

Lightning results from the buildup and discharge of energy between positively and negatively charged areas. Most lightning occurs within a cloud or between a cloud and the ground. On average,one flash of lightning could charge up a 100-watt light bulb for over 3 months. A strike of lightning heats the surrounding air to a boiling 50,000 degrees, which is hotter than the surface of the sun. The rapid heating and then cooling of the air creates a shock wave resulting in a clap of thunder. This process usually occurs over and over again during the period of a thunderstorm.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABO0UT LIGHTNING

  • Statistically, one's chances of being hit by lightning are 1 in 600,000. 
  • Most lightning casualties occur when people remain outdoors during a storm and are typically in the summer months during the afternoon and early evening. 
  • The distance between you and the lightning strike can be calculated by counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder and then dividing by five.
  • There is really no warning that one is about to be struck by lightning, but a victim may experience a tingling over their body, especially the short hairs on the back of the neck, for about 1 second.

THE FACTS ABOUT WHAT TO DO WHEN LIGHTNING OCCURS IN YOUR AREA

  1. Take shelter immediately
  2. Don't handle any metal objects that could act as a lightning rod. Golf clubs, fishing poles,and metal baseball bats are examples of items that could be dangerous to handle.
  3. If you feel the tingling warning signs, DROP TO YOUR KNEES IMMEDIATELY. Get your body as low as possible, but do not lie flat on the ground. Contact the ground with your feet and knees only. This gives as little grounding as possible
  4. Avoid metal buildings.


GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT ABOUT LIGHTNING

MYTH: If it is not raining, then there is no danger from lightning.
FACT: Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far
as 10 miles away from any rainfall.

MYTH: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect
you from being struck by lightning.
FACT: Rubber-soles shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning.
However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

MYTH: People struck by lightning carry an electrical charge and should not be touched.
FACT: Lightning-strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.