Lightning is a hazard in all thunderstorms, no matter how strong.
In the last 30 years, lightning was third behind flash floods and tornadoes as the deadliest hazards of weather. The United States averages 50 deaths a year, most coming from people not being aware of their surroundings. No lightning fatalities in the natural state last year. Most lightning deaths occur when people are outdoors, typically during the late spring and summer months.
If someone is struck, their body does not retain an electrical charge, therefore care should be administered immediately.
Lightning can strike up to at least 10 miles away from a parent thunderstorm, however, there have been reports of up to 50 miles at one time. The most severe storms, you can have lightning strikes very far away from the original thunderstorm. Therefore, most people are struck on a sunny day and not under a thunderstorm cloud.
Lightning tends to go for tall objects. The air is not a good conductor of electricity so it will find the shortest route to the ground. It will also travel through the clouds for miles at a time, hence why it can strike farthest away.
The NWS shows us that:
Statistics show that Arkansas is a top 10 state as far as lightning
activity. From 2006 through 2015, the state ranked 6th nationally
for lightning strikes /more than 850000 cloud-to-ground lightning
flashes per year/, and ranked 4th for the amount of lightning per
square mile /16 lightning flashes per square mile per year/.
The NWS gives us the guidelines for safety when dealing with Lightning.
...Some Lightning Safety Rules...
Remember, it is lightning that causes thunder. If you can hear
thunder, you are in danger from lightning. Go indoors immediately.
A hard-top car is also a safe place. Keep the windows rolled up and
do not touch metal inside the vehicle.
Do not take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees. Stay
away from higher elevations spots such as hilltops, and avoid nearby
poles and towers.
Move away from chain-link fences and other metal fences such as
those around ballparks and playgrounds.
Motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and farm tractors are not safe
If you are in the water, get out immediately. If you are in a
boat, head toward safe harbor.
Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity, so do
not use electrical appliances or corded phones. Computers and
other expensive electronic equipment may be damaged by power surges.
You may consider unplugging these items.
Stay out of the bathtub or shower.
Get off the golf course.
These are just a few guidelines and the most important ones when dealing with lightning, Remember the simple rule when thunder roars, go indoors. This will keep you safe during any thunderstorm not just severe. Wednesdays topic will be one we are all too familiar with around here and one we want you to especially pay attention to given we have already had an active start to the year.
WEDNESDAYS TOPIC: TORNADOES
Slides and anything labeled by the NWS are products of the NWS in Little Rock.