Lightning Safety Awareness Week
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Lightning kills. Play it safe!
[JUNE 19, 2004]
Lightning Safety Awareness
Week will be June 20-26. The National Weather Service in Lincoln, in
conjunction with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, has
prepared a "Lightning Safety Awareness"
available in PDF form. The brochure contains lightning facts, safety
tips, information about lightning strike injuries, background on the
science of lightning, and a list of other sources of information on
lightning and weather safety. [To download the
Adobe Acrobat reader for the PDF file, click
Lightning is the second greatest cause
of storm-related deaths in the U.S., killing more people than
tornadoes or hurricanes! Only floods kill more. Lightning also
inflicts devastating lifelong debilitating injuries on many more
than it kills. While lightning strike frequencies are high in the
Southeast, Midwest and the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, all
states have some lightning threat. Fortunately, most of these
lightning deaths and injuries can be easily avoided.
Illinois ranks 11th in the country for
the average number of lightning flashes in a year, with nearly
650,000 annually! Illinois also ranks eighth in the nation for
lightning fatalities since 1990. However, in 2001 Illinois ranked
second in the country for lightning deaths, behind Florida. Most of
the lightning fatalities occur outdoors -- under trees, on ball
fields, golf courses or lakes -- with more than half affecting men
in the 20- to 40-year-old age group.
Remember, NO PLACE OUTSIDE IS SAFE NEAR
A THUNDERSTORM! In fact, no place outside is safe within six miles
of a thunderstorm!
Use the weather forecast to plan your
outdoor activities to avoid the threat. The forecast from the
National Weather Service in Lincoln can be found at
[to top of second column in
The safest place from lightning is
inside a house or other large, fully enclosed building with wiring
and plumbing. But stay away from corded telephones, electrical
appliances and plumbing. Don't watch lightning while standing near
windows or in doorways. If you can't get to a house, a vehicle with
a metal roof and metal sides is a good second choice.
Use the "30-30 rule." If you count 30
seconds or less between seeing the lightning and hearing its
thunder, go inside immediately. If you can't see the lightning, go
inside the moment you hear thunder. Don't go outside until 30
minutes or more after hearing the last thunder.
The most dangerous places are elevated
places; open areas such as sports fields, beaches and golf courses;
near tall, isolated objects like trees; and on or in the water, such
as swimming, boating, fishing or at beaches. Do NOT go under trees
to keep dry during a thunderstorm!
information on lightning safety, visit
National Weather Service in