Summer is the peak
season for one of the nationís deadliest weather phenomena Ė lightning.
United States, an average of 66 people is killed each year by
lightning. In 2004, there were 32 deaths
attributed to lightning, down from 44 thanks in part to increased
education and safety. In 2005, there were
43 confirmed deaths and 172 confirmed injuries. The injury number is
likely far lower than it actually is
because many people do not seek help or doctors do not report it as a
is a serious danger. In the United States, there are an estimated 25
ground lightning flashes each year. Lightning can be fascinating to
watch, but it is also extremely
dangerous. Few people really understand the dangers of lightning.
some victims are struck directly by the main lightning strike, many
victims are struck as
the current moves in and along the ground. While almost all people take
some protective actions during the
most dangerous part of thunderstorms, many leave themselves vulnerable
to being struck by lightning as
thunderstorms approach, depart, or are nearby.
strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain area in a thunderstorm.
Thatís about the
distance you can hear thunder. When a storm is 10 miles away, it may
even be difficult to tell a storm is
coming. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance.
Seek safe shelter immediately! The first
strike of lightning is just as deadly as the last.
30-30 rule where visibility is good and there is nothing obstructing
your view of the
thunderstorm. When you see lightning, count the time until you hear
thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or
less, the thunderstorm is within 6 miles of you and is dangerous.
Seek shelter immediately.
of lightning continues for a much longer period than most people think.
Wait at least 30
minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving shelter. Donít be
fooled by sunshine or blue sky!
lightning deaths and injuries in the United States occur during the
summer months when the
combinations of lightning and outdoor summertime activities reach a
peak. People who are outdoors need
to take action in a timely manner when thunderstorms approach.
homes, people must also be aware of ways to reduce their risk of
lightning strikes. They
should stay away from windows and doors and avoid contact with anything
that conducts electricity
Lightning is a dangerous threat to people in the United
States, particularly those outside in the
summer. By using common sense, the number of lightning deaths can be