Zach’s Weather Whys: Lightning

Zach's Weather Whys

PEORIA, Ill. – You have to respect the raw power of a lightning strike – but just how can you stay safe until the danger passes?

It can startle you while looking out of the window of a plane or threaten life and property.

Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between the clouds, the air, or the ground.

Close to ground lightning gets the most attention and on average claims the lives of 80 people a year.

About 10 percent of those struck by lightning are killed – here’s how the other 90 percent survive the strike:

  • Remember there is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm – get out of harm’s way.
  • Any outdoor activities should be halted if you hear thunder or see lightning.
  • Go inside. Stay away from windows, doorways, electrical appliances and outlets.
  • You are safe in a vehicle with a solid metal roof and sides, just be sure to roll up the windows.

If you cannot safely find shelter – here’s a few things you can do to increase your odds:

  • If caught in the elements – get as far as you can from tall isolated objects such as trees, light and telephone poles.
  • Crouch down as low as you can with your feet close together – make yourself the smallest point in a wide open area.
  • Remember, if you hear thunder you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • Don’t resume outdoor activities until 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

If you put those tips into action – you will have a better chance of survival.

Now you are enlightened on the dangers of lightning.

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