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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
600 AM CDT MON JUN 23 2014

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK...

The National Weather Service has declared the week of June 
22nd through 28th, LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK. This is 
the first in a series of five public information statements to 
be issued by the National Weather Service office in Little Rock
containing information on lightning and lightning safety.

Today's topic is LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING SAFETY: AN INTRODUCTION.

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 
(1984 to 2013), lightning has killed more than 1500 people in the 
United States, an average of 51 people per year based on documented 
cases. In addition, during this same period, lightning has injured 
an estimated 15,000 people, some left with life-long neurological 
damage.

In addition to the deaths and injuries, lightning causes 
considerable damage across the nation. Each year, lightning
is the cause of about 25,000 fires, including about 4400 house 
fires, 1800 other structural fires, and numerous forest fires. 
Those fires are responsible for an additional estimated 12 
deaths per year. All totaled, lightning causes nearly $1 
billion in damages each year. 

During the next several days, we'll provide additional 
information on lightning and lightning safety. We'll cover what 
you can do to protect yourself from this dangerous killer. Most 
importantly, we want you to remember that there is no safe place 
outside during a thunderstorm. When thunder roars, go indoors!

Lightning fact for today:
The best protection from lightning is a substantial building. 
If you can't get inside a substantial building, a hard-topped 
metal vehicle will protect you from lightning. If the vehicle is 
struck, the lightning will follow the outer metal shell of the 
vehicle to the ground. It's important to make sure that you're 
fully inside the vehicle with the windows rolled up. Note that 
the rubber tires do not prevent the vehicle from being struck, 
nor do they provide any protection.

Here's a list of topics we'll cover later this week:
TUESDAY – Lightning's Most Deadly Activities
WEDNESDAY – Lightning Safety and Sports Activities
THURSDAY – Lightning Safety at Work
FRIDAY - Lightning Safety Around the Home

For additional information about lightning or lightning safety, 
visit NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness web site at:
 http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

$$

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