Jim Cantore breaks down the anatomy of a lightning Strike.
The National Weather Service reports that the number of lightning deaths are double the number of deaths last year, and double the average deaths over the past five years. Lightning kills an average of 49 people in the United States each year. Hundreds more people are severely injured with burns and other injuries every year.
Seven people were killed by lightning in Illinois between 2005 and 2014. The most deaths in any state in the same time period were in Florida, where 47 deaths were reported.
National Weather Service Lightning Safety Specialist John Jensenius recommends what to do to prevent being in a dangerous situation involving lightning.
1. There is no safe place outdoors in a thunderstorm. NOAA’s recommendations are based on safety. If you can’t get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle, you can’t be safe.
2. While there may be nothing you can do to lower your risk significantly, there are things you should avoid which would actually increase the risk of being struck. Those include:
Avoid open areas.
Don’t be the tallest object or don’t be near the tallest objects in the area.
Don’t shelter under tall or isolated trees.
In the woods, put as much distance between you and any tree.
If in a group, spread out so that you increase the chances for survivors who could
come to the aid of any victims from a lightning strike.
Specifically, for the question of the “hair standing on end,” Jensenius points out that there is nothing a person can do to keep from being struck and possibly killed. It is only a matter of luck. At that point, he recommends a person run as fast as possible to get to a safer location. While this may not protect them from a discharge from the current charge buildup, getting to a safer place may protect a person from subsequent lightning strikes.
National Weather Service table.
Lightning Slow Motion Video Buffalo Grove Fire Department Quint 27 at Long Grove House Fire in 2011.
Duplex House Fire After Apparent Lightning Strike on Drury Lane, Arlington Heights in 2012.
Stay informed with news from The Cardinal’s Emergencies Behind the Scenes Facebook page — Facebook.com/CardinalEmergencies. Includes links to favorite public safety and emergency rescuers and product manufacturers and safety companies that have facebook pages. Submit your pictures or just stay up-to-date on with fire, rescue, EMS and police photo galleries. Please add your public safety photo to the wall album — go direct to the Arlington Cardinal Emergencies Behind the Scenes photos. For a list of all of The Cardinal Facebook fan pages, go to Arlingtoncardinal.com/about/facebook …