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When thunder roars, go indoors!

| Updated on June 22, 2018

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The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms, but you can only see a few fluffy white clouds overhead. So you and your tennis partner grab the racquets and head for the tennis court. You spend a few minutes warming up and then — wait! Is that thunder you hear? Was that a lightning flash?

What do you do? Keep playing until the thunder and lightning get closer? Go sit on the metal bench under the trees to see what happens? Or get into your car and drive home? If no substantial, non-concrete shelter is nearby, get into your car and wait out the storm. Why? Because being outside when lightning is present is not something to take lightly — ever. Although the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk. Lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities. Regional and seasonal differences can also affect your risk of being injured by lightning. In 2017, Florida, Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas had the most lightning deaths. Florida is considered the “lightning capital” of the country, with more than 2,000 lightning injuries over the past 50 years.

The consequences of lightning strikes are serious. Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. During 2004–2013, lightning caused an average of 33 deaths per year in the US.

30-30 rule

You can protect yourself from risk even if you are outdoors when lightning strikes. By postponing your trip or activity, if the weather forecasts thunderstorms. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter. The main lightning safety guide is the 30-30 rule. After you see lightning, start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before you reach 30, go indoors. Suspend activities for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Published on June 22, 2018

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