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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
600 AM CDT MON JUN 20 2016

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK...

The National Weather Service has declared the week of June 
19th through the 25th as LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK. This 
is the first of five public information statements to be issued 
by the National Weather Service office in Little Rock
containing information about lightning.

Today's topic is LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING SAFETY.

In the United States, there are about 23 million cloud to ground 
lightning flashes each year. While lightning can be fascinating to 
watch, it is also extremely dangerous. Each one of those 23 million 
flashes is a potential killer. Based on data for the last 30 years 
(1986 to 2015), lightning killed more than 1,400 people in the 
United States, an average of almost 50 people per year. During the 
same period, lightning injured thousands of people, and left some 
with life-long neurological damage.

In addition to the deaths and injuries, lightning causes 
considerable damage across the nation. In recent years, home 
insurance claims for lightning were generally between $600 million 
and $1 billion. Fire departments responded to 20,000 to 25,000
fires annually, and 4,000 to 5,000 of these were house fires.
Let's not forget the trees, with numerous forest fires triggered
by lightning.

There is little you can do to substantially reduce your risk if 
you are outside in a thunderstorm. The only completely safe action 
is to get inside a building or vehicle with the windows rolled up.

If you absolutely cannot get to safety, you can slightly lessen 
the threat of being struck with the following tips:

- Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top.

- Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you 
  are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees. 

- If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, 
  ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection 
  from lighting. 

- Stay away from water, wet items such as ropes, and metal objects 
  such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning 
  but they are excellent conductors of electricity.

During the next several days, we will provide additional 
information on lightning and lightning safety. Here is a list of 
topics we will cover:

TUESDAY - Lightning's Most Deadly Activities
WEDNESDAY - Lightning Safety and Sports Activities
THURSDAY - Lightning Safety at Work and On-the-Go
FRIDAY - Lightning Safety Around the Home

&&

This week is headlined on the local National Weather Service website
at WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/LZK/.

$$

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