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Lightning awareness week rolls on as thunderstorms remain in the forecast

BLACKSBURG (WSLS) -

It's lightning awareness week this week and we have certainly seen our fair share of vibrant displays of light over the last week or so. Whether it's from house fires or people being struck, lightning is one of the deadliest hazards a thunderstorm brings with it.

Storm team 10 meteorologist Jonathan Kegges visited the national weather service and has more on why being weather aware is so important.

It can be beautiful, but also deadly. 

"We think of severe weather as strong winds, tornadoes, and hail, but lightning is really one of the bigger killers," said National Weather Service meteorologist David Wert.

On average each year lightning kills 49 people in the united states while injuring hundreds more, but there are ways to minimize your risk of being struck.

David Wert, the meteorologist in charge at the national weather service in Blacksburg says to always be vigilant and know the thunderstorm risk before you head outside.

"We've heard the saying it struck out of the blue and that is meteorologically consistent. We can have lightning that can sometimes go five to ten miles from the parent storm literally coming from out of blue skies and can produce fatalities," said Wert.

Lightning always wants to find the easiest way to ground so if you're outside during a thunderstorm you never want to find shelter underneath a tree as that will become the top target. on Tuesday an eleven year old girl was killed while camping when a tree fell on her cabin after being struck by lightning.

"The biggest threat of course is you never know when the strike will hit and most people that have a bad experience is when they are outdoors or they try to take shelter under a tree," said Wert.

As summer has officially gotten underway there will no doubt be more thunderstorms bubbling up and important to not under estimate the power of lightning.

"Here in the eastern part of the united states we don't typically deal with the horrific tornadoes, the gigantic hail of the Midwest. our severe weather unless it's straight line winds are more subtle, but lightning can kill anywhere or anytime," said Wert.


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