Lightning safety, statistics, and videos of some close calls
It's an active weather week, so it's a good time for some reminders about lightning safety.
The normal meteorologist thing is to say, "when thunder roars, go indoors!" The cheesy saying is good advice, but I could also offer you some video reminders about the importance of staying safe.
Here's a video from Kansas. This car was struck by lightning, caught on camera by the dash cam on the car behind it. Luckily, everyone inside the car was okay. This close call reminds us that although rare, getting struck by lightning can happen.
Cars are a safe place to hunker down during a storm if you are away from all other buildings. A common misbelief is that the rubber tires on cars keep you safe. However, the metal roof and sides on cars are actually what keep you safe if struck.
Keep in mind that "indoors" means a fully enclosed building. Tents, baseball dugouts, and picnic shelters aren't safe. If you are at a park or game, it's a better option to shelter in your car than one of these other areas.
Another unsafe option - driving ranges. It may seem like it is sheltered, but just take a look at this video from Topgolf.
LIGHTENING STRIKING A GOLF BALL OUT OF THE AIR?— Summer Horan (@SummerHoranTV) July 13, 2021
⛳️@Topgolf releasing this crazy video after a lightening bolt perfectly struck this golfers tee shot!
⚡️When thunderstorms roar, stay indoors! @mtetrick_wx has lightening safety tips & more scary video next on @ABC57News at 6:30! pic.twitter.com/jdtzmLOW42
As the golf ball was in midair, it was struck by lightning. No one was hurt, but this could have had a very different outcome.
If you are really out in the wilderness, avoid any open fields and also tall trees, as those are typical targets for lightning. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after the last lightning or thunder. You can read more lightning safety tips from National Weather Service here.
Here is a list of lightning fatalities in the United States (from 2006 through 2018). This is based on activities people were doing when the accident happened. Fishing, enjoying the beach, and camping are at the top of the list.
So far in 2021, there have been two lightning fatalities in the United States. July is the month that typically has the most lightning deaths, so it is important to stay aware right now.
If storms are in the forecast, always give the radar a quick check before you head out the door. You can download our app for anytime radar and weather alerts based on your location.