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National Lighting Safety Awareness Week
June 21-27, 2009


Lightning kills or injures hundreds each year. There have been 9 deaths in just the first half of June alone! Explore the wealth of resources on the NWS lightning safety website.

Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday   


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DECLARED THE WEEK OF JUNE 21ST
THROUGH JUNE 27TH, LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK. THIS IS THE
FIRST IN A SERIES OF FIVE PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS TO BE ISSUED
BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY,
NORTH CAROLINA CONTAINING INFORMATION ON LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING
SAFETY.

...AN INTRODUCTION TO LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING SAFETY...

IN THE UNITED STATES, THERE ARE AN ESTIMATED 25 MILLION CLOUD TO
GROUND LIGHTNING FLASHES EACH YEAR. WHILE LIGHTNING CAN BE
FASCINATING TO WATCH, IT IS ALSO EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. EACH ONE OF
THOSE 25 MILLION FLASHES IS A POTENTIAL KILLER. LIGHTNING KILLS AN
AVERAGE OF 62 PEOPLE EACH YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES BASED ON
DOCUMENTED CASES. HOWEVER, BECAUSE LIGHTNING USUALLY CLAIMS ONLY ONE
OR TWO VICTIMS AT A TIME, AND BECAUSE LIGHTNING DOES NOT CAUSE THE
MASS DESTRUCTION LEFT IN THE WAKE OF TORNADOES OR HURRICANES,
LIGHTNING GENERALLY RECEIVES MUCH LESS ATTENTION THAN THE MORE
DESTRUCTIVE STORM RELATED KILLERS. DOCUMENTED LIGHTNING INJURIES IN
THE UNITED STATES AVERAGE HUNDREDS PER YEAR.

WHILE MANY PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE AWARE OF THE DANGERS OF LIGHTNING,
THE VAST MAJORITY ARE NOT. THIS LACK OF UNDERSTANDING WITH REGARD TO
THE DANGERS OF LIGHTNING CONTINUES TO BE A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM IN THE
UNITED STATES. MANY PEOPLE DON'T ACT TO PROTECT THEIR LIVES, THEIR
PROPERTY, AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS IN A TIMELY MANNER SIMPLY BECAUSE
THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND ALL THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH THUNDERSTORMS
AND LIGHTNING. THIS LACK OF KNOWLEDGE CAN LEAD TO VERY TRAGIC
CONSEQUENCES.

EDUCATION AND AWARENESS ARE KEYS TO REDUCING THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. PEOPLE NEED TO BECOME AWARE OF THE TYPE OF
BEHAVIOR THAT PUTS THEM AT A GREATER RISK OF BEING STRUCK BY
LIGHTNING, AND WHAT THEY CAN DO TO REDUCE THAT RISK. ADULTS IN
CHARGE OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS, PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT
INVOLVE CHILDREN, SHOULD HAVE AND FOLLOW A SPECIFIC LIGHTNING SAFETY
PLAN SO THAT THEY MINIMIZE THE DANGERS OF LIGHTNING FOR THE
PARTICIPANTS AND SPECTATORS.

THE GREATEST NUMBER OF LIGHTNING DEATHS AND INJURIES IN THE UNITED
STATES OCCURS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS WHEN THE COMBINATION OF
LIGHTNING AND OUTDOOR SUMMERTIME ACTIVITIES REACHES A PEAK. DURING
THE SUMMER, PEOPLE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WARM WEATHER TO ENJOY A
MULTITUDE OF OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE
OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES PUT THEM AT GREATER RISK OF BEING
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.

WHILE VIRTUALLY ALL PEOPLE TAKE SOME PROTECTIVE ACTIONS DURING THE
MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THUNDERSTORMS, MANY LEAVE THEMSELVES
VULNERABLE TO BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AS THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH,
DEPART, OR ARE NEARBY. LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE AS MUCH AS 10 MILES OR
MORE AWAY FROM THE RAIN AREA OF A THUNDERSTORM AND THAT'S ABOUT THE
DISTANCE THAT YOU CAN HEAR THE THUNDER FROM THE STORM. IN SOME
INSTANCES WHEN A STORM IS TEN MILES AWAY, IT MAY EVEN BE DIFFICULT
TO TELL THAT A STORM IS NEARBY. HOWEVER, IF YOU HEAR THE THUNDER,
CHANCES ARE THAT YOU ARE WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE OF THAT STORM.

INSIDE HOMES, PEOPLE MUST ALSO AVOID ACTIVITIES WHICH PUT THEIR LIVES
AT RISK FROM A POSSIBLE LIGHTNING STRIKE. IN PARTICULAR, PEOPLE
SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND DOORS AND AVOID CONTACT WITH
ANYTHING THAT CONDUCTS ELECTRICITY. PEOPLE MAY ALSO WANT TO TAKE
CERTAIN ACTIONS WELL BEFORE THE STORM THREATENS, IN ORDER TO PROTECT
PROPERTY WITHIN THEIR HOMES, SUCH AS ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT.

FINALLY, IN THE UNFORTUNATE EVENT THAT A PERSON IS STRUCK BY
LIGHTNING, MEDICAL CARE MAY BE NEEDED IMMEDIATELY TO SAVE THE
PERSON'S LIFE. CARDIAC ARREST AND IRREGULARITIES, BURNS, AND NERVE
DAMAGE ARE COMMON IN CASES WHERE PEOPLE ARE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.
HOWEVER, WITH PROPER TREATMENT, INCLUDING CPR IF NECESSARY, MOST
VICTIMS SURVIVE A LIGHTNING STRIKE, ALTHOUGH THE LONG TERM EFFECTS
ON THEIR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF FAMILY MEMBERS CAN BE DEVASTATING.

HERE'S A LIST OF TOPICS TO BE COVERED LATER THIS WEEK:

TUESDAY - THE SCIENCE OF THUNDERSTORMS AND LIGHTNING
WEDNESDAY - OUTDOOR SAFETY
THURSDAY - SAFE SHELTERS AND INDOOR SAFETY.
FRIDAY - THE FACTS ABOUT LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING SAFETY VISIT NOAA'S LIGHTNING
SAFETY WEBSITE AT WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV

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National Weather Service
Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office
533 Roberts Rd, Newport, NC 28570
(252) 223-5737
mhx.webmaster@noaa.gov
Page last modified: June 19, 2009
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