Dan's Wild Wild Weather Page

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The Shocking Statistics
Lightning is an under rated killer. In an average year, lightning kills and injures more people than hurricanes or tornadoes. From 1990 - 1992, lightning killed 4 and injured 127 in Alabama. On the average, 80 deaths occur from lightning each year in the United States. Cars and homes are relatively safe from lightning. Holding a 9 iron on the 10th fairway isn't!
Lightning and the associated thunder can be frightening. But it doesn't need to be dangerous if you follow some simple rules. Stay inside buildings during a thunderstorm. Virtually all deaths from lightning occur outdoors.
If there are not any buildings nearby, cars and trucks (but not golf carts or tractors) can offer excellent protection. It is the outside metal surface, not the rubber tires that offers the protection. Tires contain many other materials (e.g. steel belts, etc...) that make

Lightning Safety Tips

  1. Stay away from large windows.
  2. Stay away from metal doors
  3. Do NOT use the telephone.
  4. Do not bathe or shower when severe weather threatens.
  5. Unplug your TV's, VCR's, computers, microwaves, etc...
them effective conductors, especially on wet roads. Golf carts and tractors do not have a metal surface surrounding the passengers and therefore can be very dangerous. If you are caught in an open field, avoid isolated trees, hilltops and metal objects (e.g. golf clubs). Also, stay out of water and get off small boats.

If your hair stands on end, your skin starts to tingle, or you hear clicking sounds, lightning maybe about to strike. Get down on your hands and knees and keep your head tucked in. DO NOT lay flat on the ground. That can give lightning a better chance of striking you.

KIDS' LIGHTNING INFORMATION AND SAFETY - A website built by a young girl who was struck by lightning while on a hike, she shares her story along with the stories of other children who have been struck by lightning.

THUNDER is the result of lightning strike and cannot hurt you. Thunder is created when lightning heats up the air around it and causes it to expand rapidly. Because light travels very fast, you see lightning as it happens. Sound on the other hand travels much slower than light and therefore takes much longer to get to you. So, you hear the thunder after you see the lightning.

It takes thunder 5 seconds to travel one mile. You can use this to tell how far away a lightning strike was. After you see a flash of lightning, start counting seconds until you hear the thunder. Divide the number of seconds by 5. This is the number of miles away the lightning stroke was.

    For example: If you counted 15 seconds between the lightning and the thunder, the lightning was 3 miles away.

Here is the latest lightning strike map. - from intellicast.com Lightning can travel from the ground up, from the cloud to ground, or cloud-to-cloud. There is no such thing as Heat Lightning. If you see distant lightning on a hot summer night, you can be sure that there is a distant thunderstorm out there somewhere.

Lightning and Thunder Tutorial

When Does Lightning Occur and Why?
Where does lightning strike?
The Cloud to Ground Striking Process
Lightning Safety Tips

Lightning & Atmospheric Electricity - from GHCC, Huntsville, AL
How far away is that storm? - Measure the sound of thunder

For more information on Lightning, I recommend the book "All About Lightning," by Martin Uman, Published by Dover Inc., New York.

More Helpful Sites On Lightning

Lightning Primer - GHCC, Huntsville, AL
Lightning FAQ
Lightning - Franklin's Forecast
  Lightning History - Franklin's Forecast
Lightning Bolts - Franklin's Forecast
Lightning Detection - Franklin's Forecast
Lightning Science - Franklin's Forecast
Kids Safety Page
The Lightning Page - SC Dept. Natural Resources
Lightning Safety Quiz - Boston Museum of Science
Lightning Strikes - predicting deadly storms usatoday.com
Lightning - Boston Museum of Science
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