May 22, 2017

Be Safe In This Season’s Thunderstorms

The month of May has already brought the area its first rain of the season and with the rain comes thunderstorms. Last weekend in an area south of Denver a person dies due to being struck by lightning. This was the first deadly lightning strike recording in the U.S. so far in 2017. A mother and her teenage daughter were out horseback riding when the lightning struck them, killing the horse, the mother, and seriously injuring the child. According to NOAA, Colorado is the third highest state in injuries and death relating to lightning strikes. Since many in Colorado like outdoor activities, watching out for lightning is very important. It is never advised that you be outside during  thunderstorms. Lightning exists during all thunderstorms and the best practice is to go indoors as soon as thunder can be heard or lightning can be seen. It is best to watch the weather forecasts of the area and plan ahead for the lightning storms.
In the case you are caught outside in a thunder storm the National Weather Service website site has a few suggestions:
“What You Should Know About Being Caught Outside Near
a Thunderstorm:
There is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. Plan ahead to avoid this dangerous situation! If you’re outside and hear thunder, the only way to significantly reduce your risk of becoming a lightning casualty is to get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as fast as you can. In addition, you should avoid the following situations which could increase your risk of becoming a lightning casualty. Remember – there is no substitute for getting to a safe place.
– Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
– Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an area.
– Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can travel long distances through it.
If you are with a group of people, spread out. While this actually increases the chance that someone might get struck, it tends to prevent multiple casualties, and increases the chances that someone could help if a person is struck.”
Once you are indoors there are a few things you can do to avoid injury if lightning happens to strike near your house. From cdc.org;
“Safety precautions indoors
1. Avoid water during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel
through plumbing.
2. Avoid electronic equipment of all types. Lightning can travel through electrical systems and radio and television reception systems.
3. Avoid corded phones. …
4. Avoid concrete floors and walls.”
Lightning can be a very scary and dangerous aspect of nature. According to nws.noaa.gov there are a few things you may not know
about lightning,
“What You Might Not Know About Lightning: All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. In the United States, in an average year, lightning kills about the same number of people as tornadoes and more people than hurricanes.
– Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain and may strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. Many lightning deaths occur ahead of storms or after storms have seemingly passed.
– If you can hear thunder, you are in danger. Don’t be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat.
– Lightning leaves many victims with permanent disabilities. While a small percentage of lightning strike victims die, many survivors must learn to live with very serious lifelong pain and
neurological disabilities.”
By Trevor Phipps

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