Everything You Need To Know About Lightning Safety

Storm season is upon us!

It’s that time of year again, where we can expect an afternoon storm almost every day. Peak thunderstorm time in Florida runs June through September, and these hot days make for great couching weather, but what do you do when you’re stuck outside of the kids want to play out in the rain? 

This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, so we think it’s a perfect time to share some information and tips with you:

  • On average, there are 1,170,979 lightning strikes in Florida every year, making Florida the “Lightning Capital of the United States” – that’s a lot of lightning! While the chances of you being struck by one of these lightning bolts is unlikely, it is possible. 90% of people struck by lightning survive, however they must cope with some degree of discomfort or disability for the rest of their lives.
  • The reason we are so susceptible to lightning in Florida is because we are surrounded by water on three sides. This creates a higher likelihood for storm clouds to form from the sea breezes.
  • Lightning strikes can be positive or negative. Negative strikes are not dangerous, but the positive ones can cause bodily harm. Only about 5% of lightning strikes are positive. Ironically, the positive strikes occur at the front of the storm clouds, and often happen miles away from the heaviest rain in the storm. In fact, lightning can strike up to 25 miles away from the storm is it attached to.

So, how do you know when to seek cover?

  • The most dangerous place to be during a lightning strike is an open area, as lightning tends to strike the tallest object in its path. If there is not a building nearby, seek shelter in a car, or somewhere with a hard top roof. ALWAYS STAY AWAY from water and trees. 
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck. Thunder travels 1 mile every 5 seconds, so you can estimate how far lightning is from you, depending on the time between seeing the strike and hearing the thunder. For example, if you see lightning and hear the thunder 10 seconds later, the lightning is two miles away from you.

A good safety rule to follow is “when thunder roars, go indoors.” Stop all outdoor activities, seek shelter, and wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder roar before going back outside. Understanding more about lightning, and where and when to seek shelter during a thunderstorm, are the most important components of protecting you and your family during our Florida summer storms!

For more information on lightning safety visit: https://www.weather.gov/iln/lightningsafetyweek

Other resources: http://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2018/06/25/weather-blog–it-s-lightning-safety-awareness-week—what-you-need-to-know-to-help-keep-you-safe.html