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Lightning climatology and safety

Now that we are headed into the spring and summer season, it’s a good idea to review what you need to do to protect yourself against lightning.  The National Weather Service has shown that, while 66 percent of fatalities from lightning occur in leisure activities like boating or golfing, the number one factor in work-related deaths from lightning is in agriculture-related activities.

Source: National Weather Service

Source: National Weather Service

You can find excellent information on lightning safety from the NWS page at http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/, including their campaign “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”.

Where does lightning occur most often?  The map below shows that the Southeast is the main location for lightning in the United States.  However, a map provided by EarthSky recently (link) shows that the tropical lands are the major location worldwide due to their ready source of moisture which fuels thunderstorms.

cloud to ground lightning map  global-lightning-activity-e1428004232878

 

You can view a live lightning map at http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime.  However, I have found that it does not capture all lightning I see or hear, so there is no substitute for awareness.  Be safe and seek shelter when lightning is in the area!

live lightning 4-6-2015