Saturday, June 19


Lightning Safety Awareness Week
June 20-26    
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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" brochure 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 here.]

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


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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!

For more information on lightning safety, visit

[News release from the
National Weather Service in Lincoln]

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