National Lightning Safety Awareness Week highlights safety measures


According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, lightning kills more people in Florida than all other meteorological phenomena combined.

That's one reason why taking precautions against lightning safety is so important. Those preparedness efforts are being highlighted from June 21st-27th during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

“Central Florida does have a high concentration of lightning strikes every year and that's because of our seabreezes,” said Scott Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Kelly explained that those seabreeze collisions in the summer cause lightning storms to form.

He noted that it's important for those in the area to be vigilant about their development.

"If you are outdoors, and if you hear thunder, then you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning,” Kelly said.

The NWS in Melbourne noted that residents should stay inside for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.

Kelly recommended that residents go to enclosed buildings for shelters, noting that places that keep people dry but aren’t enclosed, such as picnic shelters, still leave people susceptible to being struck by lightning.

The NWS in Melbourne also advises people to get out of any bodies of water and to stay away from trees, especially those that are isolated and tall. Additionally, they advise people to put down metal equipment and get away from metal objects such as metal fences and telephone and power lines.

Hard-topped vehicles — and not ones with cloth tops such as convertibles, provide protection, Kelly added.

The NWS in Melbourne also recommends that while indoors to not make contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, cords and plumbing. They also advise residents to stay away from windows and doors. 

Kelly says that in the event people are unable to find shelter in a storm, that crouching down to the ground but not laying on it is a strategy people can employ.

“You’ll make yourself a small target,” Kelly added.

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