June 20-26 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. This is an important opportunity to raise awareness surrounding the dangers of thunderstorms – North Carolina’s electric cooperatives urge members to learn how to stay safe during a storm.
Thunderstorms can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous. While lightning strikes may seem uncommon, all thunderstorms produce lightning. Every year, there are 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in the United States and an estimated 300 Americans are struck by lightning. Nearly one tenth are killed while others suffer life-long disabilities.
When you hear thunder, seek shelter indoors or in a hard-topped vehicle. If you can’t get to shelter, avoid open fields and hilltops, stay away from tall, isolated trees and objects, and spread out if you’re in a group. Lightning is attracted to tall objects, such as trees and utility poles, because they are closer to strike than the ground. While this is oftentimes the case, lightning can strike anywhere at any time during a storm, and often strikes outside the areas of heavy rainfall and as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.
Following these storm safety guidelines can ensure you and your family stay safe this storm season. For more storm information, visit www.noaa.gov/weather and for more safety tips, visit North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Storm and Hurricane Safety homepage and ncstormcenter.coop.