This week is NOAA’s Lightning Awareness week. Lightning has surprisingly killed a lot of people in the USA since records began in 1950.
Mountain climbers are especially exposed to lightning in the USA. I’ve been climbing in both the Sierras and Rockies when I saw light strike objects well below me. Scary stuff.
Here’s what you need to know to avoid getting zapped:
- If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Lightning is shown to strike as far as 10 miles away from the origin of the thunder storm. If you can hear the thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning.
- If you hear thunder, go inside. Stay inside until around 30 minutes after you hear the last round of thunder.
- While you’re inside, don’t use any corded telephones and other electrical devices. Lighting can travel through telephone lines.
- Don’t shower while its storming outside. Lightning can go through the plumbing.
- Stay inside and away from doors and windows until the storm passes.
- If you’re stuck outside, with no place to take shelter, never take shelter under a tree. If lightening hits the tree it’s likely it will affect you and can significantly injure you.