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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
FOURTH 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.

...SAFE SHELTERS AND INDOOR SAFETY...

A HOUSE OR OTHER SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING OFFERS THE BEST PROTECTION FROM
LIGHTNING. IN ASSESSING THE SAFETY PROVIDED BY A PARTICULAR
STRUCTURE, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER WHAT HAPPENS IF THE
STRUCTURE GETS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, RATHER THAN WHETHER THE STRUCTURE
WILL BE HIT BY LIGHTNING. FOR A SHELTER TO PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM
LIGHTNING, IT MUST CONTAIN A MECHANISM FOR CONDUCTING THE ELECTRICAL
CURRENT FROM THE POINT OF CONTACT TO THE GROUND. THESE MECHANISMS MAY
BE ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE STRUCTURE, MAY BE CONTAINED WITHIN THE WALLS
OF THE STRUCTURE, OR MAY BE A COMBINATION OF THE TWO. ON THE
OUTSIDE, LIGHTNING CAN TRAVEL ALONG THE OUTER SHELL OF THE BUILDING
OR MAY FOLLOW METAL GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS TO THE GROUND. INSIDE A
STRUCTURE, LIGHTNING CAN FOLLOW CONDUCTORS SUCH AS THE ELECTRICAL
WIRING, PLUMBING, AND TELEPHONE LINES TO THE GROUND.

UNLESS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO BE LIGHTNING SAFE, SMALL STRUCTURES
DO LITTLE, IF ANYTHING, TO PROTECT OCCUPANTS FROM LIGHTNING. MANY
SMALL OPEN SHELTERS ON ATHLETIC FIELDS, GOLF COURSES, PARKS,
ROADSIDE PICNIC AREAS, SCHOOLYARDS AND ELSEWHERE ARE DESIGNED TO
PROTECT PEOPLE FROM RAIN AND SUN, BUT NOT LIGHTNING. A SHELTER THAT
DOES NOT CONTAIN PLUMBING OR WIRING THROUGHOUT, OR SOME OTHER
MECHANISM FOR GROUNDING FROM THE ROOF TO GROUND IS NOT SAFE. SMALL
WOODEN, VINYL, OR METAL SHEDS OFFER LITTLE OR NO PROTECTION FROM
LIGHTNING AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED DURING THUNDERSTORMS.

THERE ARE THREE MAIN WAYS LIGHTNING ENTERS HOMES AND BUILDINGS: A
DIRECT STRIKE, THROUGH WIRES OR PIPES THAT EXTEND OUTSIDE THE
STRUCTURE, AND THROUGH THE GROUND. REGARDLESS OF THE METHOD OF
ENTRANCE, ONCE IN A STRUCTURE, THE LIGHTNING CAN TRAVEL THROUGH THE
ELECTRICAL, PHONE, PLUMBING, AND RADIO/TELEVISION RECEPTION SYSTEMS.
LIGHTNING CAN ALSO TRAVEL THROUGH ANY METAL WIRES OR BARS IN CONCRETE
WALLS OR FLOORING.

PHONE USE IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF INDOOR LIGHTNING INJURIES IN THE
UNITED STATES. LIGHTNING CAN TRAVEL LONG DISTANCES IN BOTH PHONE AND
ELECTRICAL WIRES, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS. STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS AND DOORS AS THESE CAN PROVIDE THE PATH FOR A DIRECT STRIKE
TO ENTER A HOME. DO NOT LIE ON THE CONCRETE FLOOR OF A GARAGE AS IT
LIKELY CONTAINS A WIRE MESH. IN GENERAL, BASEMENTS ARE A SAFE PLACE
TO GO DURING THUNDERSTORMS. HOWEVER, THERE ARE SOME THINGS TO KEEP
IN MIND. AVOID CONTACT WITH CONCRETE WALLS WHICH MAY CONTAIN METAL
REINFORCING BARS. AVOID WASHERS AND DRYERS SINCE THEY NOT ONLY HAVE
CONTACTS WITH THE PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS, BUT ALSO CONTAIN
AN ELECTRICAL PATH TO THE OUTSIDE THROUGH THE DRYER VENT.

LIGHTNING ALSO CAUSES SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO PERSONAL PROPERTY EACH
YEAR. IN ADDITION TO DIRECT STRIKES, LIGHTNING GENERATES ELECTRICAL
SURGES THAT CAN DAMAGE ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT SOME DISTANCE FROM THE
ACTUAL STRIKE. TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, UNPLUG ANY APPLIANCES OR
ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT FROM ALL CONDUCTORS WELL BEFORE A THUNDERSTORM
THREATENS. AND, DON'T FORGET TO DISCONNECT TELEVISIONS OR RADIOS
FROM OUTDOOR ANTENNAS. IF YOU PLAN TO BE AWAY FROM YOUR HOME WHEN
THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE, BE SURE TO UNPLUG UNNEEDED EQUIPMENT
BEFORE YOU LEAVE.

THE FACTS ABOUT LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIMS WILL BE COVERED ON FRIDAY.

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
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Page last modified: June 19, 2009
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