As we enter into the summer season, here are a few facts and lightning safety tips to remember:
LIGHTNING SAFETY FACTS
Sunshine Safety Council, Inc./ NOAA
Florida is the “Lightning Capital of the U.S.”- highest casualties among all 50 states
- Central Florida: From Tampa across to Titusville, is considered “Lightning Alley.”
- Lightning is the No. 1 weather killer in Florida (higher rate than hurricanes, tornadoes and drownings combined).
- June, July, August and September are the highest strike months, July and August being the worst.
- 10 percent of people struck by lightning are killed, while 70 percent suffer severe medical problems.
Campus Lightning Detector System: Stetson has lightning detection equipment in four areas of the DeLand campus. The Lightning Siren System will issue a long siren blast to indicate lightning is within 2.5 miles of campus, and the light on the pole will flash. Three short blasts will indicate the all-clear.
The National Weather Service offers these important Lightning Safety Tips:
- Use the “30 -30” rule: If the time between lightning and thunder is 30 seconds or less, seek proper shelter. Wait at least 30 minutes from last lightning/thunder before leaving the shelter.
- The best shelter is a fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. Open pavilions or carports are not safe.
- Vehicles with metal sides and roofs also provide adequate shelter. Roll windows up and do not touch metal surfaces. Golf carts are not considered safe.
- Avoid corded telephones, electrical appliances, power tools, metal doors or window frames, and plumbing fixtures (i.e. tubs/showers) as lightning can travel through wires and metal pipes.
- Do not lean against vehicles or fences or use motorcycles or bicycles during a lightning storm.
- The most dangerous places to be are: under trees, in or near water (lakes, docks), open fields, beaches, golf courses, sports fields, and around tall objects or metal objects.
- If caught outdoors, run to the nearest safe shelter – do not lie down on the ground.
- Don’t assume if you don’t see lightning, you’re safe. Lightning can strike from storms that are miles away. If you can hear thunder, take precautions. “If you hear it – fear it!”
For more information on lightning go to: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/?n=lightning (click “Safety” tab)
Total number of lightning casualties in Florida between 1959 and 2015:
- Killed: 482 – an average of nine per year
- Injured: 1,788 – an average of 37 per year
Top 10 states with most lightning casualties (deaths plus injuries), 1959 – 2004:
- Florida: 2,117
- North Carolina: 818
- Michigan: 815
- Pennsylvania: 760
- New York: 749
- Texas: 716
- Ohio: 671
- Colorado: 702
- Georgia: 586
- Tennessee: 554