Thursday, September 5, 2013
All About Lightning
Lightning strikes about three million times a day on earth. In addition to its electric charge, a bolt of lightning can reach a temperature of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That is hotter than the surface of the sun! About 80 people are killed by lightning in an average year in the United States. Many more are injured, often seriously and long term. This makes lightning among the most dangerous of natural hazards. Stay aware of the weather forecast for your area, especially if you have outdoor activities planned. If you see dark, threatening clouds or hear thunder, it is time to prepare: * Every 5 seconds you can count between a lightning bolt and its thunderclap is one mile between you and the lightning. Since lightning can strike miles away from its cloud, don't consider yourself face. If you hear thunder, it is best to take shelter in a building or fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car. * If you are on the water, try to find land nearby to take shelter. * Avoid showering or bathing during a thunderstorm. Plumbing can conduct the electricity from a strike to you. * Unplug all electrical equipment, a lightning strike can damage it or someone using it. * If you have to take shelter outside, stay away from large metal objects. Avoid lone trees in open spaces. If in a forest, take shelter in a clump of shorter trees. If nowhere else is available, go to a low spot and crouch down. Do not lie down and beware of standing water. * If someone has been struck by lightning call 9-1-1. If they are not breathing or do not have a pulse, begin CPR. Check for burns. Caution, make sure they are not electrically charged before touching the victim.