Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

Lightning over Denton, Texas.  June 11, 2012.  Photograph by Mike Mezeul, courtesy of Dallas Observer.

Summer is the peak season for fresh fruit, waterslides, barbecues . . . and lightning-related deaths and injuries.  

Although people do get struck by lightning year-round, summertime is the best time to familiarize yourself with information about lightning from the National Weather Service, including the following:

General Tips
 No outdoor area is safe when you hear thunder.
 If you hear thunder, find a safe indoor shelter (a substantial building or enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with the windows up).

Indoor Safety Tips
 Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment.
*  Avoid plumbing (including sinks, bathtubs and faucets.)
*  Stay away from porches, windows and doors.
*  Never lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.

Outdoor Safety Tips
No outdoor area is safe during a thunderstorm, but if you're caught outside with no safe shelter options, take these steps to reduce your risk of being struck by lightning:

*  Come down from elevated areas.
*  Never lie flat on the ground.
*  Never shelter under an isolated tree.
*  Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.

*  Immediately get out of--and away from--ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.

*  Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as wire fences.

Further Reading
Read some interesting myths and facts about lightning from the National Weather Service.

From everyone with the TWU Libraries, a safe and happy summer to all.

~Elaine Cox