On this first full day of summer, Nebraskans are being reminded about the dangers of lightning and how to avoid it.
National Weather Service meteorologist Kelsey Angle says staying safe from a lightning strike is as simple as taking shelter when a storm approaches.
“No place outside is safe near a thunderstorm,” Angle says. “When outside, keep an eye on the sky and when thunder roars, go indoors inside the shelter and that will give you the best protection from the hazards of lightning.”
Nationwide, there are about 49 deaths a year on average from lightning strikes. If you hear thunder, he says lightning is close enough to strike you.
Angle says for Nebraskans who are taking part in ourdoor activities or sports, it’s important to have a designated spotter.
“You should always have someone identified who is keeping an eye to the sky as thunderstorms do approach,” he says, “and will halt the activity so people will have enough time to seek shelter.”
“About 40% of lightning fatalities are from people from playing soccer, 27% of those from outdoor sports are from golf, and about another 17% is from running, 10% from baseball and about 3% from football,” Angle says.
Don’t wait for the rain to start, Angle says. Get inside a structure, and if there’s not a building nearby, find a vehicle.
“Inside a hard-topped vehicle will provide you protection from lightning,” Angle says. If you are inside a building, he advises that you stay away from windows to avoid any type of debris from the storm that might hit the window.
People are often struck by lightning when they aren’t paying attention to the changing weather conditions.
A common myth is that lightning victims are electrified and dangerous to approach. This is not true as about 90% of lightning victims survive and providing first aid could save a life.
Learn more at this National Weather Service link.