Sunday Story: Summer Lightning

There’s not a whole lot on the agenda today for this NASA Social, but I’ll let you know if I’m wrong! (ha) Tomorrow’s agenda is full and you’ll probably be hearing from me a lot!

Summer Lightning

A news headline out of Florida recently reported that a motorcyclist had been struck and killed by lightning while out riding his motorcycle. It’s a headline I have seen before.

On average, lightning kills 51 people a year in the United States, according to NOAA. The folks in greatest danger of being struck are those who are caught outside in the open during a thunderstorm. For instance, golfers out on open golf courses, boaters out on the open water, and fishermen standing on beaches tend to be most at-risk for being struck.

Perhaps the lesser known threats are to those who are riding motorcycles. NOAA reminds us to go indoors if we hear the roar of thunder, but motorcyclists can’t hear the thunder, leaving them to rely on their eyes to check for darkening skies.

Speaking of vehicles, many people think they are perfectly safe in their cars during a storm. This is true, so long as you’re not in contact with anything inside the car that conducts electricity. Your protection comes from the metal sheath surrounding you, directing the lightning strike away from you. Many folks believe the rubber tires ground the car and offer protection but that is a myth.

Also, keep in mind that if someone is struck by lightning it is perfectly harmless to touch them immediately afterwards. In fact, they may need CPR and the sooner they receive that treatment the better the odds are they will survive.

Your best course of action in a storm is to simply move indoors and stay away from electrical appliances and plumbing, both of which can conduct electricity from a lightning strike.

There’s nothing more refreshing than a thunderstorm in the middle of a hot summer day. Just be safe, so you can be around to enjoy the next summer storm!

5-day outlook (9)

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