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Paul M. Walsh/AP

National Weather Service Announces Lightning Safety Week

June 23, 2008 07:30 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
Dozens of people in the United States are killed or injured by lightning each year, but there are helpful tips that can minimize accident risks.

30-Second Summary

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The summer months are lightning season.

To call attention to the issue of lightning safety, the National Weather Service has declared June 22–June 28, 2008, “Lightning Safety Week.”

According to the National Weather Service, lightning killed 45 people in the United States during 2007, and eight have died from lightning strikes so far in 2008. Of those victims, 98 pecent were struck outdoors.

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 lightning, but they actually can become 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. (They don't.)

Headline Link: Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Related Topics: Lightning safety tips; human lightning rod

Lightning safety
Roy Sullivan

Reference: Weather

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