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The National Weather Association Council approved this policy statement on lightning safety education and requests the support of NWA members in implementing it.
Lightning is an underrated weather hazard. It is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths in the U.S., exceeded only by floods. In an average year, lightning kills more people in the United States than tornadoes or hurricanes. Of the estimated 1,000 people who are struck by lightning each year in the U.S, only 10% are killed, but survivors may suffer life-long disabilities.
The majority of lightning casualties (deaths and injuries) are preventable. Therefore, all NWA members are encouraged to proactively educate the public on the threat of lightning and on lightning safety. Radio and Television weathercasters and teachers, with their access to large segments of the public, can be especially effective in this effort. By increasing efforts to educate the public about the dangers of lightning, NWA members could substantially decrease the number of lightning casualties.
Safety information is posted on this Web site page: www.nwas.org/links/lightning.php to assist members in lightning safety education activities. Although it would be optimal to include lightning safety information any time thunderstorms are predicted, "Lightning Safety Awareness Week," started by NOAA's National Weather Service and its partnering organizations in the year 2000, occurs during the last full week in June each year and is a good time to stress lightning safety education. Lightning safety education is easy, can be highly effective, costs little, and may make the greatest impact in decreasing weather-related deaths and injuries.
Approved: May 2003, Bill Read NWA President.
The ILDC/ILMC (International Lightning Detection Conference/International Lightning Meteorology Conference) is a scientific conference focused on lightning. Organized every other year, the conference brings together global participants to present new lightning detection technologies, research findings, and new applications. See 2012 presentations at: http://www.vaisala.com/en/events/ildcilmc/Pages/default.aspx.
Thunder and Lightning occur together in the atmosphere, but since light travels faster than sound, one normally sees the lightning first. As soon as you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear the thunder then divide by five to estimate how many miles away the lightning strike was. If there are 5 seconds, the lightning was about a mile away. (Sound goes about 1000 feet a second). In metric, if it takes three seconds to hear the thunder, the storm is about a kilometer away.When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
For specific safety precautions — read and heed: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm