It’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Do you know your risk?
Emilie Lorditch, Staff Writer

(Inside Science) -- When you are outside, are you aware of your risk of being struck by lightning? Find out how meteorologists are identifying your risk of being struck to help keep you and your family safe during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 24-30.

“I’ve always been interested in the weather, specifically in regards to how it affects people. Nobody can say that it doesn’t affect them,” said Kelley Murphy, a graduate student and teaching assistant at Texas Tech University.

When thunderstorms roll in, accompanied by potentially dangerous lightning, do you and your family know your risk of being struck?

According to the National Safety Council, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in 14,600 and in a given year is 1 in 1,171,000. Meteorologists identify your risk as the probability of being killed or seriously injured by lightning over a specific time frame such as a day, month or a year.

More lightning stories from Inside Science
How Hot is Lightning?
Video: Storm Chasers: A Firsthand Account
Video: Global Warming Experts Predict 50% More Lightning

“The goal of the research is always to be able to help in the decrease of the negative lightning impacts. We can’t control when or where lightning is going to strike, but we can control our actions when it does. And so lightning risk is a way to try to quantify both of those things at once. One of the higher-risk activities is water-related activities,” said Murphy.

So, if you are fishing, hanging out on the beach or camping, don’t forget to keep a watchful eye on the sky and head indoors if a storm appears.

“There has been really great past research that highlights where lightning fatalities are now. There are a lot fewer than there used to be. Lightning education is one of the important things that helps diminish fatalities; we are consciously making people more educated to make better decisions,” concluded Murphy.

Filed under
Author Bio & Story Archive

Emilie Lorditch is the former Assistant News Director at AIP.