This year’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week began with a jolt when lightning struck, sending 23 New Hampshire boy scouts to the hospital on Monday. Many had minor burns. Thankfully there were no major injuries but the summer months mark an increased risk for lightning related incidents. 2013 has seen seven lightning strike deaths so far, one of which happened here in Missouri.
In the spirit of the week, the National Weather Service has released a short video on lightning safety, particularly for those participating in outdoor activities. Golfers, fishermen, campers, and beach goers should all watch and stay safe!
Ten Facts about Lightning
Lightning has been appearing in the skies and in the news a lot recently, but how much do you know about it? Here are ten interesting facts about this dangerous phenomenon.
- 2013 has seen 7 lightning strike deaths, and over 50% of all lightning related deaths occur near water.
- Missouri ranks sixth in the nation for lightning strike deaths.
- Lightning bolts travel at up to 60,000 miles per second and can reach up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The popular phrase “lightning never strikes twice” is actually just an old wives tale. Lightning can strike a single spot multiple times.
- March of 1991 marked one of the most impressive and deadly storms to date. The storm spread through Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri and included over 15,000 individual lightning strikes.
- Do you suffer from keraunophobia? If you have an irrational fear of lightning, then maybe you do.
- In the course of 35 years, a Shenandoah National park ranger named Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times. He survived every strike and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the person struck by lightning the most times in recorded history.
- Florida is the “lightning capital” of the United States. 10% of all human strikes occur in this state.
- On average, the Empire State Building is struck by lightning 24 times every year.
- On October 31, 2005 38 cows were killed on a farm near Dorrigo, New South Wales by a single bolt of lightning. Three other cows were paralyzed by the strike, but eventually recovered to full health.