Severe Weather Preparedness Week 2013
Day 4 - Thursday February 7, 2013
This is day four of Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Today’s topic
Lightning has often been called the underrated killer since during
an average year more people die from lightning nationwide than all
the hurricanes and tornadoes combined. Lightning usually claims one
or two victims at a time and does not cause mass destruction like
tornadoes or hurricanes. Even still, numerous people each year lose
their lives because of lightning. In 2012, a total of 28 lightning
deaths occurred across the nation. In addition, lightning injures
hundreds of people per year and can cause life altering medical injuries
such as memory loss, sleep disorders, chronic pain, muscle spasms and
depression among many other things.
Lightning deaths are more common in the summer months when more people
participate in outdoor activities. However, lightning can and does occur in
every month of the year. While both males and females can be struck and
killed by lightning, males frequently are those most killed by lightning.
Lightning is one of the most easily recognizable weather hazards
we have in Mississippi. Lightning is visible during the day and
night and is always accompanied by thunder. If you are close
enough to a storm to hear thunder, you are close enough to be
struck by lightning.
While lightning is dangerous, it is the easiest weather event to
protect yourself from. Normally moving into a building or an all
metal vehicle will provide protection.
Below are some safety rules for lightning.
*Do not stand under isolated trees or in open fields. This is the leading
location of fatalities from lightning.
*Get out of and away from open water and beaches.
*Get off tractors and other farm equipment. Get off and away from motorcycles,
scooters, golf carts, and bicycles. Do not take shelter in open top vehicles.
*Put down golf clubs and baseball bats. Do not take shelter in open air pavilions
or sports dugouts.
*Stay away from wire fences, clothes lines, metal pipes, rails or other metallic
paths which could carry lightning to you.
*Once inside, avoid using a landline telephone, appliances, or any item that plugs
into the wall electrical outlet. Do not take a shower, bath or wash dishes. Lightning
can strike near your house and travel inside via the electrical or telephone lines or plumbing.
*If you are caught outside and you feel your hair stand on end, this indicates that
lightning is about to strike. Move fast inside or into a hard topped car.
For more information on lightning safety please visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov