Lightning deaths increase in month of July - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lightning deaths increase in month of July

Phillip Van Zandt Photography Phillip Van Zandt Photography
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Whether you’re going for a dip in the pool or playing soccer in the park, you are probably trying to spend a little time outdoors this summer. This makes lightning safety even more important this time of year.

Statistically speaking, the most lightning strikes occur in the month of July. Due to the increase in lightning strikes and more people being outside, this month also has the most lightning deaths. 

On average, 15 people lose their lives to this weather phenomena in July each year. June and August follow closely behind in the amount of fatal lightning strikes. 

Every thunderstorm has lightning, but not every thunderstorm reaches severe criteria. So, just because a thunderstorm is not severe, does not mean it can’t be life-threatening. Although getting hit by lightning is extremely rare, it is best to not put yourself in a dangerous situation. Lightning actually kills more people than tornadoes and hurricanes. So, how can you protect yourself?

  1. If you hear thunder, go inside immediately. Tell your kids “when thunder roars, go indoors!” If you’re in a pool or other body of water, this is even more important. Water is a good conductor for electricity, which means a lightning strike can move electricity quickly through the water. Out on a boat and can’t get back to dock quickly? Go into the cabin or get as low as possible.
  2. Don’t let blue skies fool you. Lightning can strike about 10 miles from the thunderstorm. If you see a thunderstorm or dark clouds in the distance, head inside.
  3. When you go indoors, stay away from windows. There have been reports of lightning striking through the windows of homes.
  4. If thunderstorms are in the forecast and you can’t cancel your outdoor plans, try to have a lightning plan. If it starts storming, you want to have a set safe place to go. Porches and tents are not sufficient. Your safe place needs four walls, a door and some sort of wiring or plumbing.
  5. Stay away from trees or tall poles. Typically, lightning strikes the tallest object. Which brings me to the next tip, don’t be the tallest object in an open field.

Although July is the most dangerous month for getting struck by lightning, you can be struck by lightning any month of the year! It’s best to check the weather and be aware of thunderstorm potential. The StormTrack 5 mobile app will alert you when lightning is in your area, which is a great tool to help keep you safe. Just make sure that you have the alerts turned on in the settings for StormTrack 5!

Have more questions about lightning? E-mail me at bbryant@wmctv.com or tweet me @WX_BrittneyB.

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