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The dangers of lightning and how to avoid getting struck

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Lightning is one of the most dangerous, and the most unpredictable weather phenomena on the planet. Reaching temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun, lightning is an electrostatic discharge that occurs when the atmosphere and the ground temporarily equalize themselves.

This equalizing action results in an instantaneous release of as much as a billion joules of energy and it can set fire to anything it strikes and can occur anywhere on the planet.

According to the National Weather Service, from 2009 to 2018, an estimated 2,700 people were struck by lightning in the United States, 272 of which were fatal. The NWS says that the odds of someone in the U.S. getting struck by lightning in a given year is 1 in 1.2 million. The odds of someone getting struck by lightning in their lifetime is 1 in 15,300.

Though the odds seem small, lightning is nothing to shake your head at.

On July 5th in Watkins Glen, 4 people were struck by lightning while out camping in the forest. No one was killed but they were transported to a local medical center and released.

You can make sure you are safe from lightning by following some very simple tips.

First, if you can hear thunder, go inside! If thunder is audible, you are close enough to get struck by lightning.

If you cannot make it inside, get away from tall structures like trees and poles. Make yourself small, avoid open fields or hills. If you are trapped in an open field, make yourself as small as you can.

If you see something, or someone that was struck by lightning, do not touch! The current could still be in the object or person and could spread to you if you make contact or even get too close.

The only way to ensure the best safety from lightning is to always move inside when you hear thunder or know a thunderstorm is coming.

If you have any questions regarding lightning safety or safety in all types of weather feel free shoot Austin Evans an email at austinevans@wetmtv.com. He will gladly answer any safety questions regarding any sort of weather.

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