Annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 19-25, 2011
by National Weather Service
June 10, 2011
More than 400 people are struck by lightning in the United States each year, often causing devastating and permanent disabilities for those who survive. As NOAA’s National Weather Service hosts the 11th National Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 19-25, everyone is urged to heed this warning - when thunder roars, go indoors!
The annual lightning safety campaign is helping to reduce the number of deaths caused by lightning each year. Lighting Safety Awareness Week, first launched in 2000 to educate people about the danger of lightning, has helped reduce annual lightning deaths. The number of lightning related deaths in 2010 totaled about 30, which was slightly more than one-half the 30-year average of 55 deaths.
However, approximately 10 percent of the nationwide deaths occurred in Wyoming. "Lightning continues to be the greatest weather hazard in our state," said Chris Jones, warning coordination meteorologist at the Riverton NWS office. "Lightning killed three people and injured over two dozen in Wyoming last year. Mountain locations are particularly dangerous during thunderstorms as little protection is usually available."
The Riverton NWS office recently launched a summer recreation forecast for Grand Teton National Park that includes a lightning threat forecast. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to always check the NWS forecast online at weather.gov/riverton or by calling
1-800-211-1448 to speak directly with a meteorologist about their outdoor plans.
Many people still wait too long to seek shelter from lightning, which can strike up to ten miles away from a thunderstorm. NWS officials advise that if you hear thunder, you need to get inside a building or car immediately and boaters need to head to shore.
To avoid being struck by lightning, NOAA’s National Weather Service recommends that you:
• Get into a fully enclosed building or hardtop vehicle at the first rumble of thunder;
• Stay indoors for 30 minutes after the last thunder clap;
• Monitor the weather forecast when you’re planning to be outdoors;
• Have a plan for getting to safety in case a thunderstorm moves in;
• Do not use a corded phone during a thunderstorm unless it’s an emergency; cell phones are safe to use;
• Keep away from plumbing, electrical equipment and wiring during a thunderstorm.
On the Web:
NOAA’s National Weather Service Lightning Safety Awareness Week: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov
NOAA’s National Weather Service in Riverton: http://www.weather.gov/riverton
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Riverton.gov