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May 20, 2019 | Health Advice

Lightning Facts: What You Need to Know

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week Facts and Safety Tips

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 23-29. Let’s take a few minutes to review some lightning facts and discuss several lightning safety tips.

Lightning Facts: What You Need to Know

  • Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves.
  • Lightning is extremely hot. A flash of lightning can heat the air around it to temperatures five times hotter than the sun’s surface.
  • About 100 cloud-to-ground lightning bolts strike the Earth’s surface every second with extraordinary power. Each lightning strike can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.
  • Lightning kills about 2,000 people each year.
  • Lightning strikes can cause severe burns and cardiac arrest.
  • Those who survive lightning strikes typically suffer from a variety of lasting symptoms including dizziness, numbness, memory loss, weakness, and other life-altering impairments.
  • If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

Lightning Safety Tips: Stay Safe from Strikes

There is NO safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area! When you hear thunder you should immediately move inside to safety.

However, if you cannot move inside you should:

  • Get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks and try to move to lower ground such as a valley.
  • Never seek shelter under an isolated tree or electrical poles.
  • Immediately get out and away from bodies of water such as ponds and lakes.
  • Avoid objects that conduct electricity such as wire or metal fences, power lines, and windmills.
  • Stay in a safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
  • Stay off any device that would put you in direct contact with electricity such as corded phones, computers, gaming systems, and other electrical equipment.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, toilets, baths and faucets.
  • Avoid lying or leaning against concrete.
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • If there is no safe shelter anywhere nearby, seek lower elevation areas away from trees, metallic objects and bodies of water.

Facts and tips have been gathered from National Geographic and the National Weather Service.