Severe Weather Awareness: Lightning Safety

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Lightning Safety

Lightning is a part of all thunderstorms and it can be deadly. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings aren't issued for lightning but it is certainly a dangerous part of any storm, any time of year. On average, nearly 47 people are killed each year because of lightning strikes. Majority of the lightning strikes happen when people are outside enjoying activities like playing sports or fishing.

Here is what you need to know about the different types of lightning strikes.

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Direct Strike: Person becomes a part of the main strike channel. These often happen when someone is out in the open. This type of strike is rare but the most deadly.

Side Flash: Lighting strikes a tall object near a person (like a tree) and part of the current jumps to the person. This is why we say don't shelter under a tree during a storm.

Ground Current: This type of strike causes the most injuries and deaths. A ground current develops when a tall object is struck and then the energy from the strikes travels out through the ground. Anyone person or animal near the strike can have the current enter their body through the ground. This travels through your body before exiting and can cause injuries.

Conduction: It is a myth that metal attracts lighting...it doesn't but it is a good conductor (lightning moves through it) This is a main way people inside their home can get struck. Outside a tree could be struck, pipes or wires outside can carry the current into your home and can strike you if you are holding something plugs into an electrical outlet, water faucets and showers, corded phones, and windows and doors.

Remember, when thunder roars go indoors! Be safe inside during a storm as well.