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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
THIRD 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.

...LIGHTNING SAFETY OUTDOORS...

MANY LIGHTNING DEATHS AND INJURIES IN THE UNITED STATES OCCUR DURING
THE SUMMER MONTHS AND DURING THE AFTERNOON HOURS WHEN BOTH LIGHTNING
AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES REACH A PEAK. DURING THE SUMMER, PEOPLE TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF THE WARM WEATHER TO ENJOY A MULTITUDE OF RECREATIONAL
ACTIVITIES. TO BE SAFE, THOSE WHO ARE BOATING, SWIMMING, FISHING,
BICYCLING, GOLFING, JOGGING, WALKING, HIKING, CAMPING, OR WORKING
OUTDOORS ALL NEED TO TAKE THE APPROPRIATE ACTIONS IN A TIMELY MANNER
WHEN THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH.

BEING OUTDOORS WHEN THUNDERSTORMS ARE NEARBY INVOLVES RISK, AND
CERTAIN LOCATIONS ARE WORSE THAN OTHERS. OF THE LIGHTNING FATALITIES
REPORTED IN THE UNITED STATES IN 2008, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OCCURRED
OUTDOORS. OF THOSE, 32 PERCENT WERE REPORTED UNDER OR NEAR A TREE,
AND 29 PERCENT WERE REPORTED ON OR NEAR THE WATER.

TO MINIMIZE THE THREAT OF BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING WHILE OUTDOORS,
IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHEN THE LIGHTNING THREAT BEGINS TO INCREASE
SIGNIFICANTLY AND WHEN THE THREAT IS REDUCED TO MINIMAL LEVELS. IN
GENERAL, THE THREAT BEGINS WELL BEFORE MOST PEOPLE THINK IT BEGINS,
AND ENDS WELL AFTER PEOPLE THINK IT ENDS. UNFORTUNATELY, IT'S THIS
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING THAT ACCOUNTS FOR MANY LIGHTNING CASUALTIES.

WHILE NO ONE CAN COMPLETELY ELIMINATE THE RISK OF BEING STRUCK BY
LIGHTNING, BY USING SOME BASIC RULES, YOU CAN GREATLY REDUCE YOUR
RISK OF BECOMING A LIGHTNING CASUALTY.

PLAN AHEAD. IF THUNDERSTORMS ARE FORECAST, CONSIDER CANCELING OR
POSTPONING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES SO THAT YOU AVOID A POTENTIALLY
DANGEROUS SITUATION.

MONITOR THE WEATHER CONDITIONS. WATCH THE SKY FOR ANY SIGNS OF A
DEVELOPING OR APPROACHING STORM, PARTICULARLY IF YOU NEED A LONG
TIME TO GET TO A SAFE PLACE.

IF THE SKY LOOKS THREATENING OR YOU HEAR THUNDER, IMMEDIATELY
SEEK SAFETY INSIDE A SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING. IF A SUBSTANTIAL
BUILDING IS NOT AVAILABLE, TAKE SHELTER IN A HARD-TOPPED METAL
VEHICLE. REMAIN THERE FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES AFTER THE LAST
FLASH OF LIGHTNING IS SEEN OR THE LAST THUNDER IS HEARD. SOME
LIGHTNING VICTIMS HAVE MADE THE MISTAKE OF RETURNING OUTDOORS
BEFORE THE THREAT IS OVER.

IF YOU ARE CAUGHT OUTSIDE IN A THUNDERSTORM, YOU SHOULD TRY TO
MINIMIZE YOUR RISK OF BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. IN THESE
INSTANCES AVOID TALL OBJECTS SUCH AS TALL TREES AND POLES, AVOID
THINGS THAT CONDUCT ELECTRICITY SUCH AS METAL BLEACHERS OR WIRE
FENCES, TRY TO MAKE YOURSELF AS SMALL A TARGET AS POSSIBLE, AND
MINIMIZE YOUR CONTACT WITH THE GROUND.

IF YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED IN ORGANIZED, OUTDOOR
RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES, MAKE SURE IN ADVANCE THAT THE OFFICIALS IN
CHARGE HAVE AND FOLLOW A SPECIFIC LIGHTNING SAFETY PLAN. DON'T BE
AFRAID TO ASK. COACHES, UMPIRES, REFEREES, OR CAMP COUNSELORS MUST
LEARN TO PROTECT THE SAFETY OF THE PARTICIPANTS BY STOPPING THE
ACTIVITIES EARLY, SO THAT THERE IS SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF TIME FOR THE
PARTICIPANTS AND SPECTATORS TO GET TO A SAFE PLACE BEFORE THE
LIGHTNING THREAT BECOMES SIGNIFICANT. IN CERTAIN INSTANCES,
SUBSTANTIAL BUILDINGS MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR SHELTER, AND CARS AND
BUSES MAY PROVIDE THE BEST PROTECTION, BUT BE SURE THE WINDOWS ARE
CLOSED AND THAT THE OCCUPANTS AVOID CONTACT WITH ANY METAL IN THE
VEHICLE.

FINALLY, DON'T FORGET THE SAFETY OF YOUR OUTSIDE PETS. DOG HOUSES
ARE NOT SAFE, AND DOGS WHICH ARE CHAINED TO METAL CHAINS OR WIRE
RUNNERS ARE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO A NEARBY LIGHTNING STRIKE.

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

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

Local Climate Water & Weather Topics:
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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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