Paul M. Walsh/AP

Lightning Causes More Injuries, Deaths During Busy July

July 28, 2008 12:41 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
Several people around the United States have suffered lightning-related injuries during the month of July, including at least a dozen this past weekend.

30-Second Summary

July has lived up to its reputation for being peak lightning season.

On July 27, at least 12 people in New York and New Jersey were struck by lightning; one person was killed. Earlier in the month, five other people around the United States were killed by lightning in less than a week.

According to the National Weather Service, around 62 people a year die from lightning strikes; 23 have died so far in 2008. The agency celebrated “Lightning Safety Week” in June 2008 to teach the public about the dangers of lightning.

There are some helpful tips that can reduce your chances of being struck by lightning.

“Instinct often leads to danger,” writes the Globe and Mail. For example, trees may seem like a good shelter from rain, but they can act  as a “natural lightning rod.” It’s best to stay in the open, but don’t lie flat on the ground; doing so could increase your vulnerability to a lightning strike that hits the ground and fans outward.

The National Weather Service applies a more general standard to outdoor lightning safety: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” Fully-enclosed buildings are safer than open structures like picnic shelters or dugouts.

There are also myths about lightning safety, such as the common idea that wearing rubber-soled shoes prevents lightning from traveling through a person’s body to the ground. (It doesn’t.)

Headline Link: Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Background: Lightning Safety Week

Related Topics: Lightning safety tips; human lightning rod

Lightning safety
Roy Sullivan

Reference: Weather


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