National Weather Service Promoting Lightning Safety

National Weather Service Promoting Lightning Safety

"When it roars, get indoors." That simple saying could one day save your life. The National Weather Service has designated next week Lightning Safety Awareness Week.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - "When it roars, get indoors." That simple saying could one day save your life. The National Weather Service has designated next week Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

Lightning can warm the air around it to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun. It's nothing to fool around with, and that's what next week is all about.

The Mid-South sees many thunderstorms each year. The time of the year doesn't matter; if you hear thunder, do one thing.

"Get out of the way," said Local 24 Chief Meteorologist Paul Williams. "You have to realize if you're my height, which is rather small, or your height, which is rather tall, either way if you're the highest point in a field you're the direct target of any kind of lightning because we're talking about something that discharges to the highest point."

Even inside, you must remain vigilant and resist the toughest things like talking on the phone and using other electrical items.

"Stay away from electrical objects while in the house because if it strikes the house, it can still come in and get you."

According to the National Weather Service, over the last 30 years, on average 52 people per year are killed by lightning; only flooding and tornadoes rank higher.

Williams said, "You can't assume you're out of harm's way when it stops raining where you are. If it's flashing over there and you're the highest object outside or near a metal pole, you're still putting yourself in danger."

Outdoor shelters can be tricky.

"A lot of people make the mistake of trying to get under something, that's actually the wrong thing to do, whether you're in a stadium or you're outside," Williams said. "Some folks say, 'I'm going to protect myself by going under a tree,' or some kind of structure; if it's raining and you're in a thunderstorm, it's better to be wet than to be fried."

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