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Calling attention to an underrated killer this Lightning Safety Awareness Week

U.S. lightning deaths each year have decreased dramatically since the start of the initiative

Severe thunderstorm produces lightning along Rockbridge-Augusta County line in April 2020 (Photo: Sandy Berry)
Severe thunderstorm produces lightning along Rockbridge-Augusta County line in April 2020 (Photo: Sandy Berry) (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – Your Local Weather Authority often mentions the threats associated with thunderstorms when they’re headed our way. Flooding, wind, hail and tornadoes are typically at the top of mind on active days, but there’s another threat that can be just as dangerous under the right circumstances.

In 2001, lightning killed 55 people in the United States on average each year. The National Lightning Safety Council (LSC) created National Lightning Safety Awareness Week (LSAW) to call attention to the underrated killer. Since then, U.S. lightning deaths have dropped to less than 30 per year.

Average number of lightning fatalities since 2001
Average number of lightning fatalities since 2001 (National Lightning Safety Council)

The LSC has declared this week (June 21-27) as 2020′s LSAW. We have some tips for you so you can stay safe from lightning when thunderstorms threaten our area.

Lightning safety
Lightning safety (WSLS)

The most important mantra is “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!”, which was created by the LSC in 2003. An alternative that some organizations are using is “See A Flash, Dash Inside!” to be inclusive of the deaf and/or hard of hearing communities.

So this LSAW and moving forward, Your Local Weather Authority hopes you will be mindful of ALL the threats that thunderstorms pose to our communities.

More resources from the National Lightning Safety Council are available here.


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