Lightning Safety Awareness, Part 1

By: Stephen Bowers
By: Stephen Bowers

It's often called "the underrated killer", and with good reason. Lightning has killed eight people so far this year. The National Weather Service says lightning kills an average of 62 people every year in the United States, making it the second deadliest weather disaster.

In fact, lightning kills more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

The odds are 280,000 to one that you will be struck by lightning at least once in your life. In comparison, the odds of being attacked by a shark are one in 8 million.

With statistics like that, it's easy to see why practicing lightning safety is a good idea/ This is Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

In short, lightning is caused when updrafts and downdrafts carry precipitation of different sizes to different parts of the cloud. This causes negative and positive electrical charges to separate and the equalizer is lightning.

Lightning can heat the air to 50,000 degrees F in a split second, causing a shock wave we hear. We call that shock wave thunder.

Lightning is also a major cause for wildfires and often zaps electrical appliances in your home.

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