Weather Wise: Lightning Safety
Right now is the time of year for thunderstorms, and where there's thunder, there's often lightning. In this week's Weather Wise, Forecaster Kelley Smith has some lightning safety tips you may find shocking.
Corrdinator for the Lewis and Clark Disaster and Emergency Services, Paul Spegnler, says, "You never know when a bolt of lightning is going to come out and get you."
Every year, lightning strikes more than 100 people nationwide.
"And we have our fair share of people who are struck here in Helena.”
He says there are a few commonly believed myths that can put people in harms way.
"If you don’t see rain or it's not raining on you, you can't get hit by lightning. A lot of folks think that if the sky is clear over them they're ok, but they're not.”
He says lightning can strike a person from 10 miles away so during a storm, get indoors and get away from windows and water.
"Don’t take a bath, don’t wash your dishes, don’t take a shower. Get away from water.”
Spengler says not to pick up the phone during a lightning storm because the electricity can travel through the wires with immense force and can strike the person talking. He says he personally knows someone who made this mistake.
"He said the pulse was so powerful, it flew him literally across the room, but he lived to tell the tale, he was really, very lucky.”
He says if a person finds themselves stuck outside during a storm, crouch down and try to be as small as possible.
"Avoid ground contact. Don't stretch out on the ground. That's why we recommend if you do it. Just hunker down on the balls of your feet."
He says making sure to follow these simple tips will help protect people from being shocked. And now you're a little more Weather Wise.
Story by Kelley Smith, Beartooth NBC.
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