The Knox County Emergency Management Agency is promoting National Lightning Safety Awareness week during June 21-27, 2015.
Summer has just begun and it is during this time of the year that many people choose to enjoy outdoor activities. While outdoor activities are normally harmless, changes in the weather can make many of them a potential threat to a person's life. Research shows that common outdoor activities such as fishing and playing soccer are some of the main causes of getting struck by lightning in a thunderstorm.
According to a study by VAISALA, a manufacturing company for environmental tracking devices, Ohio ranked 17th on the state rankings for frequency of lightning bolts hitting the area, and 9th on the state rankings for the number of lightning deaths between 2003-2012.
The National Weather Service advises people to be more attentive to weather forecasts around the months of June, July, and August. These are the months particularly known for their high concentration of thunderstorms and lightning strikes.
Summer is the hottest time of the year. Water evaporates more rapidly in this season than any other season, thus, creating thunderstorms which bring with them lightning bolts.
Lightning can be very dangerous to humans. While only a few people die each year from getting hit by lightning, most suffer lifelong injuries including neurological disorders, brain damage, and cardiac problems.
Lightning frequently hits the tallest thing in its path because the positive particles in the atmosphere and negative particles on the ground are closer to each other and therefore, force of attraction is stronger. Understanding the nature of lightning and how it works can help people avoid getting struck by it, and become more aware of what they need to do in the event of a thunderstorm.
The National Weather Service outlines some of the things a person should do to avoid getting struck by lightning. These include having a safety plan, postponing any activities that will put you and other people in danger of getting struck, monitoring the weather and being more attentive to forecasts and warnings, getting to a safe place as soon as you see signs of a thunderstorm, staying away from electrical devices or water when indoors, and waiting at least 30 minutes before going outside again after a thunderstorm has passed.
Although weather forecasts advise people to get to a safe place ahead of time, some people still do not take the necessary steps to do so. In fact, in a recent study conducted by National Weather Service lightning safety specialist, John S. Jensenius, Jr., confirmed that most deaths by lightning were caused by people who were on their way to a safe place. This is why it is important that weather forecasts be taken seriously.
According to the Knox County Emergency Management Agency, “When thunderstorms threaten, get to a safe place. Lightning safety is an inconvenience that can save your life. So, ‘when thunder roars, go indoors!’”
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