Severe Weather Awareness Week: Lightning

It burns hotter than the sun's surface and travels faster than the speed of sound. Lightning, is one of the top severe weather dangers in Wisconsin. As Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin continues, it's a good idea to refresh your memory on ways to stay safe this season.

Here's a few quick tips on thunderstorm safety:

Yes, thunder always accompanies lightning. The sound is the result of rapidly heated air surrounding the bolt of lightning. Since 1844, lightning has caused 87 deaths or injuries just across our viewing area. It can happen anytime day or night and if you can hear thunder, you're close enough to be at risk. On average, one person per year will perish from a lightning strike in Wisconsin. The state ranks sixteen of fifty on lighting deaths. While most people actually survive a lightning strike, the residual effects may be serious and lead to long term health problems, so this is definitely one severe weather danger you don't want to mess around with.

While lightning can happen at any point during the year, it is most common in summer. As you look back to the safety graphic, moving indoors is your best option during a thunderstorm. Head's up fellas, you're more likely than a female to be struck, so you need to get indoors too!! Once inside, stay away from metal objects and electrical appliances. Hold off on the shower as well. Did you know that lightning can travel through power and phone lines as well as plumbing?!

If you are stuck outdoors, there's still ways to minimize your risk of getting hit. Get out of the water. Head to a low lying area and away from tall objects. Lightning is likely to strike the tallest object nearby.  When you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear thunder. For every five seconds of time, that equals one mile of distance. Lightning doesn't need to be overhead to be a concern. Reports have shown lightning to strike twenty miles away for the parent storm.

And if you encounter someone who has been struck, it's okay to touch them. They will need to get medical attention right away.

Now that you have these tips on how to stay safe, it's a good time to download our CBS58 Weather App. It's available for Apple and Android devices, including iPads. One of our newer features on the app is lightning detection, which will come in handy while you enjoy the outdoors this summer!

I'm meteorologist Rebecca Schuld

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