Lightning + You = Possible Death

Lightning .. cool to watch and photograph, also a Killer.

Lightning is a subject I’ve rarely mention, other than to say I caught some on video or have a picture of. Other times I mention it when giving storm reports on Facebook and Twitter. After this weekend, I think it deserves a closer look. I thought common sense would tell a person to seek shelter. I see the lack of common sense on a daily basis anymore.

Locally in Georgia, Peachtree city to be precise, Two men were injured by a possible and likely Lightning strike. One man, a father of 9 died. Here’s what we know. I find it disturbing…

The two men were at Lake Peachtree near the Battery Way boat ramp. According to others in the area, there was a ‘Storm in the area’. In the area. IN THE AREA ! At the time reports say there were children swimming and playing in the lake. The 2 men were standing near some trees. One person, a boy, said he heard the lightning strike and knew someone in the area had likely been hit by it. A STORM WAS IN THE AREA !
FULL STORY HERE – Peachtree City father of 9 dies after suspected lightning strike

On Sunday in Aldine Texas, Lightning killed 2 men and injured a third. They were out on a soccer field when the storm come upon them. They took shelter UNDER A TREE. UNDER A TREE !
FULL STORY HERE – Lightning kills 2, injures another at Houston soccer fields

In the Peachtree City Georgia Lightning death a storm was reported in the area. I’m almost certain the bolt of lightning that killed was not the first to be heard that afternoon. In the Aldine Texas Lightning deaths, They say the storm was sudden. Again, I can almost bet the killer bolt of lightning was not the first heard.

With more people outside during the summer months, it’s important for at least one person in a group to be aware of the weather. If you see the sky darkening, you should THEN decide to head for shelter, not after you hear the first rumble of thunder.

Lightning hit this poplar tree in my yard on March 18 2005. It threw bark many feet away and blew the top off. These images are after the clean up.

Here are some Lightning safety Guidelines to help you make the right decision when outdooors. Via the National Weather Service

There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember, When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors! Too many people wait far too long to get to a safe place when thunderstorms approach. Unfortunately, these delayed actions lead to many of the lightning deaths and injuries in the U.S.

The best way to protect yourself from lightning is to avoid the threat. You simply don’t want to be caught outside in a storm. Have a lightning safety plan, and cancel or postpone activities early if thunderstorms are expected. Monitor weather conditions and get to a safe place before the weather becomes threatening. Substantial buildings and hard-topped vehicles are safe options. Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not safe.

A safe shelter from lightning is either a substantial building or a enclosed metal vehicle. A safe building is one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor, and has plumbing or wiring. Examples include a home, school, church, hotel, office building or shopping center. Once inside, stay away from showers, sinks, bath tubs, and electronic equipment such as stoves, radios, corded telephones and computers.

Unsafe buildings include car ports, open garages, covered patios, picnic shelters, beach pavilions, golf shelters, tents of any kinds, baseball dugouts, sheds and greenhouses.
A safe vehicle is any fully enclosed metal-topped vehicle such as a hard-topped car, minivan, bus, truck, etc. While inside a safe vehicle, do not use electronic devices such as radio communications during a thunderstorm. If you drive into a thunderstorm, slow down and use extra caution. If possible, pull off the road into a safe area. Do not leave the vehicle during a thunderstorm. Unsafe vehicles include golf carts, convertibles, motorcycles, or any open cab vehicle.

Remember this .. “Thunder is the sound caused by a nearby flash of lightning and can be heard for a distance of only about 10 miles from the lightning strike. The sound of thunder should serve as a warning to anyone outside that they are within striking distance of the storm and need to get to a safe place immediately!”

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

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