Striking away lightning myths

Striking away lightning myths

Quick Facts

As temperatures warm up, more time is being spent outside, especially on the water for summer vacation.

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Whether you are floating the river, hanging out on the lake, or going to the beach, it is important to know safety precautions to one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States.

1126pm- A double cloud to ground lightning strike, 30 miles SW of the FOX23 News SkyView Network camera at KRMG at 71st/Yale. Storms slowly weakening, Live radar on www.fox23.com

Posted by FOX23 Chief Meteorologist James Aydelott on Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lightning is one of the least understood weather phenomena.

There are many lightning myths that you should be aware of:

Lightning is a discharge of electricity between positively and negatively charged particles in the atmosphere. It can occur in the cloud and also between the cloud and the ground.

How strong is this discharge of electricity?

Think about your house: the typical current that is in houses is around 120 Volts and 15 Amps; a lightning strike is about 300 million Volts and 30,000 Amps meaning that a lightning strike could light a 100-watt light bulb for about 3 months or a fluorescent bulb for 12 months.

Not only is lightning very powerful, it is also very hot.

As lightning moves through the atmosphere, the discharge of electricity heats up the air to around 5000° F. This is five times hotter than the sun!

Understanding the different ways to stay safe, how one could be struck, and what to do, are key and could save a life.

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Planning ahead includes knowing the forecast and knowing where a safe place is if a thunderstorm threatens your plans. While outside, if the sky looks like a thunderstorm is approaching, it is best to go ahead and go inside.

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Getting inside and away from doors/windows is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting struck by lightning.

It is also important to remember once the storm clears, it is not necessarily safe to go outside. It is safe to go outside 30 minutes AFTER the last clap of thunder or the last lightning strike.

There are 5 different ways to get struck by lightning:

Want more information about lightning? Feel free to check out this website put together by the National Weather Service and NOAA.

More myths and facts about lightning and lightning safety can be found here: Lightning Myths and Facts