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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
600 AM EDT WED JUN 23 2010

...JUNE 20ST-26TH IS LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DECLARED JUNE 20ST THROUGH JUNE
26TH AS LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK.  THIS WEEK...THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE IN MELBOURNE WILL BE ISSUING 
INFORMATION STATEMENTS ABOUT LIGHTNING.


TODAY'S TOPIC:  LIGHTNING SAFETY OUTDOORS

OUTDOORS IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE TO BE DURING A THUNDERSTORM.
MOST PEOPLE ARE STRUCK WHILE WORKING OUTSIDE, AT SPORTING EVENTS,
ON THE BEACH, OR DURING OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. TEN PERCENT OF ALL
LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS DIE...AN AVERAGE OF 60 ANNUALLY IN THE
UNITED STATES.  OF THE 90% WHO SURVIVE, MOST SUFFER SERIOUS LONG 
TERM AND OFTEN PERMANENT DISABILITIES.

LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE MORE THAN 10 MILES FROM A THUNDERSTORM'S 
CENTRAL RAIN SHAFT.  BY CONTRAST, THE AUDIBLE RANGE FOR MOST THUNDER
IS 10 MILES.  THEREFORE, IF THUNDER CAN BE HEARD, LIGHTNING IS
WITHIN RANGE.  THE LIGHTNING THREAT CAN BE GREATLY MINIMIZED BY 
USING SOME BASIC SAFETY RULES:

FIRST...PLAN AHEAD.  TRY TO SCHEDULE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO AVOID THE
HOURS OF PEAK THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY (USUALLY EARLY AFTERNOON THROUGH
EARLY EVENING). IF THUNDERSTORMS ARE FORECAST, CONSIDER CANCELING OR
POSTPONING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO AVOID BEING CAUGHT IN A DANGEROUS
SITUATION.

SECOND...KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY.  MONITOR THE WEATHER CONDITIONS
REGULARLY. WATCH FOR ANY SIGNS OF A DEVELOPING OR APPROACHING STORM,
ESPECIALLY IF CONSIDERABLE TIME IS NEEDED TO REACH A SAFE LOCATION. 

THIRD...IF THE SKY LOOKS THREATENING, IF LIGHTNING IS SEEN, OR IF 
THUNDER IS HEARD, SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY INSIDE A SUBSTANTIAL
BUILDING.  IF A SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING CANNOT BE REACHED WITHIN A FEW
MINUTES, THEN A HARD-TOPPED METAL VEHICLE IS A GOOD ALTERNATIVE.
AVOID SHEDS, PICNIC SHELTERS, BASEBALL DUGOUTS, AND BLEACHERS. 
REMAIN IN THE SHELTER FOR AT LEAST THIRTY MINUTES AFTER THE FINAL
THUNDER IS HEARD BEFORE RESUMING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES.

THE ONCE TOUTED "LIGHTNING CROUCH" IS NOW ACTIVELY DISCOURAGED AS 
RECENT STUDIES HAVE FOUND IT IS MUCH BETTER TO ACTIVELY SEEK SHELTER
THAN TO REMAIN OUTDOORS.  THE ONLY TIME THE LIGHTNING CROUCH SHOULD
BE USED WOULD BE IF YOU WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET A FEW SECONDS
WARNING PRIOR TO A STRIKE:  

IF YOUR HAIR STANDS ON END, YOUR SKIN TINGLES, OR YOU HEAR A 
CRACKLING OR STATIC SOUND, A STRIKE MAY BE IMMINENT.  MAKE YOURSELF 
THE SMALLEST TARGET POSSIBLE AND MINIMIZE YOUR CONTACT WITH THE
GROUND.  CROUCH DOWN ON THE BALLS OF YOUR FEET, DUCK YOUR HEAD, AND
COVER YOUR EARS.  DO NOT LIE FLAT ON THE GROUND!  ONCE THE LIGHTNING
STRIKES, PROCEED OR CONTINUE TO THE NEAREST SHELTER.  IT SHOULD BE
NOTED THAT THE LIGHTNING CROUCH BY NO MEANS WILL GUARANTEE YOUR
SAFETY.  IT IS A DESPERATE, LAST DITCH ATTEMPT TO AVOID BEING 
STRUCK. 

BOATERS ARE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO LIGHTNING.  WATER IS AN 
EXCELLENT CONDUCTOR OF ELECTRICITY AND BOATERS OFTEN REQUIRE SEVERAL
MINUTES TO REACH SAFE HARBOR.  IN ADDITION, BOATS ARE THE TALLEST
OBJECTS AROUND, BE THEY ON A LAKE, WATERWAY, OR OPEN OCEAN.  THE 
MAJORITY OF LIGHTNING CASUALTIES ON THE WATER INVOLVE OPEN, SINGLE
DECK BOATS.  SUCH BOAT OWNERS NEED TO BE ACUTELY AWARE OF THE 
WEATHER SITUATION.  IF STORM CLOUDS THREATEN OR IF THUNDER IS HEARD,
GET OUT OF THE WATER IMMEDIATELY!  DO NOT WAIT FOR THE RAIN TO BEGIN!

IF THE BOAT HAS AN ENCLOSED DECK AND AN APPROACHING STORM CANNOT BE
OUTRUN, GO BELOW DECK AND STAY AWAY FROM METAL HARDWARE.  DISCONNECT
AND DO NOT USE RADIO EQUIPMENT OR ANY MAJOR ELECTRONICS UNLESS IT IS
AN ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY.  IF POSSIBLE, LOWER, REMOVE, OR TIE DOWN THE
RADIO ANTENNA AND OTHER PROTRUDING DEVICES. 

IT IS CRITICAL TO REALIZE THAT LIGHTNING IS THE FIRST THUNDERSTORM 
HAZARD TO ARRIVE, AND THE LAST TO LEAVE.  REMEMBER, WHEN THUNDER
ROARS, GO INDOORS!  REMAIN INDOORS FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES AFTER THE
LAST CLAP OF THUNDER (NOT AFTER THE RAIN ENDS!).  DON'T BE FOOLED BY
CLEARING SKIES OR EMERGING SUNSHINE.  ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF LIGHTNING 
OCCURS WITH VISIBLE BLUE SKY OVERHEAD.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING SAFETY...VISIT 
THE LIGHTNING INFORMATION CENTER AT WEBSITE OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER 
SERVICE IN MELBOURNE:  HTTP://WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/MLB/?n=lightning

OR VISIT NOAA'S LIGHTNING SAFETY WEBPAGE AT:  
HTTP://WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV 

$$ 







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