News flash--June 22- 28 is Lightning Awareness Week. The National Weather Service wants to help people become more aware of the dangers of lightning, especially during the summer months, when thunderstorms are more likely to occur.
Lightning is one of the most powerful natural forces on earth. Lightning is a discharge of static electricity from the charged particles built up in storm clouds. The positive charge (protons) and negative charge (electrons) collide, and lightning flashes!
Lightning can move from cloud to cloud, and from clouds to the ground. Lightning can strike tall buildings, trees, and people.
The National Weather Service offers these lightning safety tips--
- NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
- Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
- Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.
MORE OUTDOOR TIPS
- Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
- Never lie flat on the ground
- Never seek shelter under an isolated tree
- Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
- Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)
Most of the lightning injuries and fatalities occur during the months of June, July and August. According to the National Weather Service, 81% of lightning injuries and fatalities are men. It's not because the forces of nature are out to get men--it's because more men are likely to be working outside, or going golfing, or fishing--outdoor activities that could be risky during a thunderstorm. So, be smart, and stay safe!
Want to learn more about lightning and thunderstorms? Why not visit The Science -Storms exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry? You can find out more about it here.
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