It is estimated that the United States alone receives
approximately 200 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per year.
In addition, a lightning spark can be over 5 miles in length, be as hot
as 50,000 degrees and contain over 100 million electrical volts.
If a lightning storm warning is issued:
- Stay abreast of the news via a portable radio. In North Texas a lightning
storm usually means the power will flicker or completely go out.
- Unplug expensive appliances, lightning strikes can cause electrical
- Stay away from faucets, sinks and bathtubs since metal pipes can conduct
- Avoid using the phone.
- Stay away from windows.
- If you are out in the storm and near water, get to land and away from
the water immediately.
- Seek a building rather than a car for shelter.
- If you are in your car, close the window.
- If you cannot find shelter, get to a low lying place away from trees
or other tall objects. Squat low to the ground in a tuck position. Put
your head between your knees and try to keep as little of your body from
touching the ground as possible.
- Do not lie flat on the ground. This provides a greater
surface from which to conduct electricity.
- Watch for water. You may need to move if water accumulates underneath you.
- If you ever feel your hair stand up during a storm, immediately assume
the tuck position. This means that electrical charges are rushing up your
body from the ground towards an electrically charged cloud.
- Administer first aid if needed.
- Note that a lightning victim usually has 2 severe burns.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Use flashlights rather than candles if the power is out.