Severe Weather Week–The Danger of Lightning! This week in Minnesota, April 11th-15th is severe weather week. It is a time to focus on the threats that can come to you and your family from severe weather. Lightning is one of Minnesota’s biggest treats.
Lightning threats are personal for me. Many years ago, I had a good friend who was struck by lightning. His companion died. He survived. He still has medical conditions as a lasting effect of the lightning strike.
Here are some safety tips and common myths regarding lightning strikes from the government weather bureau.
Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which on a national basis kills more people than tornadoes in a given year.
Lightning kills around 100 Americans annually, with about 300 injuries. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, there have been many deaths and injuries over the years, most in areas such as camp grounds, although people have been injured indoors when talking on the phone.
The following are some lightning safety tips…
- All thunderstorms produce lightning. It is surprising that so many people are not aware of this.
- Get inside a building or enclosed vehicle. Many fatalities occur when the warning signs are ignored.
- If caught in an open area with lightning all around, crouch down immediately! Put your hands on your knees but do not lie down on the ground.
- Do not use a telephone or electrical appliance. A nearby lightning strike can travel through the phone or power lines right into the home.
- Avoid seeking shelter beneath lone trees.
Myths and facts about lightning…
Myth: If it’s not raining, there is no danger from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes away from heavy rainfall, and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
Myth: Rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being injured by lightning.
Fact: Rubber provides no protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection from lightning (if you are not touching metal in the car).
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.
Myth: Heat lightning occurs after very hot summer days and poses no threat.
Fact: What is referred to as “heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
Know the facts and myths about the dangers of lightning strikes. Be sure your family members are award to keep yourselves safe.