Safe Family Report: Lightning

By: Paige Tebow
By: Paige Tebow

Every year, more than 1,000 Americans are struck by lightning. The National Weather Service says more people are killed by lightning than by tornadoes or hurricanes.

"Lightning season can happen any time of the year,” says Tom Miller, KXII meteorologist. “We can have thunderstorms any time of the year, in the month of December or in the month of July."

You can't count on the rain to start first. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles ahead of the storm. Being outdoors is very dangerous during a lightning storm. If you see lightning or hear thunder, get inside quickly, or get in a hard-topped vehicle and stay there until the storm ends.

"Lightning can melt sand, which is over 200 degrees Fahrenheit,” Miller says. “It can also have hundreds of thousands of volts to it, so you can imagine the danger that accompanies lightning."

Don’t wait for rain to take action. Most people struck by lightning aren't in rain! If you're caught outside, get below the tree line. Lightning will hit the tallest object. You don't want that to be you!

If you're out in the open, crouch down to reduce your chance of being struck. Don’t lean on a car or bicycle or hold anything metal. If someone gets struck by lightning, call 911 right away. If you know first aid or CPR, you can use it. The person does not carry a charge after the lightning strike.

"Lightning is a very dangerous situation in Texoma, especially during storm season,” he says. “We can have continuous strikes of lightning with thunderstorm complexes that move over the area.”

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