Find posts by keyword
Find posts by date


Lightning safety may save your life

Lightning safety may save your life

by KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 26 at 3:12 AM


Lightning safety rules should be refreshed in your mind each summer.  Lightning strike counting between 1990 - 2012 shows a dramatic increase across Oregon.  Data, mostly collected from eastern Oregon, shows an increase in yearly strikes, rising from 29,000 strikes to nearly 50,000 on average over the past twenty years. The good news is that the number of people killed from lightning strikes each year across the country has decreased since 2006.  The average number of people losing their lives each year to lightning is considered to be 50, but the last 5 years have seen national lightning deaths of 34 or less.  So far, 2014 has seen 7 fatalities, highlighted per state on the map below.

Here are a few lightning facts:

Lightning is a rapid discharge of electrical energy.  Each spark can span over 5 miles in length and reach temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun.  Water acts as a conductor of electricity, making lightning strikes over water deadly.  Every year, millions of lightning strikes fill our skies. 

Basic lightning safety:

1.  When you hear thunder, get out of the water

2.  Know that when you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

3.  Only cars with windows up and a metal-topped roof are safe as shelter.

4.  Never take shelter under an isolated tree.

5.  Immediately get off hill tops or mountain ridges.  Remember, lightning strikes high objects.

6.  Never lie flat on the ground.

7.  Stay away from objects such as metal that conduct electricity.

Learn more about how people are struck at this link from the NWS:

The lightning strike photo above is courtesty of:  Getty Images


Meteorologist Rod Hill, follow me @