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Lightning Safety Week: How to stay safe from lightning this summer

This week is Lightning Safety Week. It's we head into the most active months for daily lightning across the United States which falls between late June and August.

One of the things that makes lightning so dangerous is because of the misinformation and myths which surround the phenomenon. One popular myth is that if the sun is shining, you can't be struck by lightning. This is false.

While lightning won't form out of cloudless sky, often times it's a thunderstorm several miles away that can be obstructed which can produce the bolt. In some cases, these strikes can occur 5 to 25 miles away from a parent thunderstorm.

This means it doesn't necessarily need to be raining in a particular location for lightning to strike.

For visual, this means a storm in Columbia could theoretically cause a lightning strike near Jefferson City... the same could be said about a storm near Jeff City striking the Lake of the Ozarks.

Missourians live in a pretty unique part of the country. We have access to one of the largest recreational bodies of water in the country.

"More coastline than the state of California... "

One property of lightning is that it's attracted to the tallest object in a given area. If you think about a lake or an open field... it doesn't take much to become the tallest thing for lightning to strike.

This makes these two environments extremely dangerous if conditions for lightning are present.

An amazing way to keep up with storms if you're spending time outdoors is downloading the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather APP for Apple or Android devices!

It can give you notice if lightning is detected within 15 miles of your exact location using near-realtime data from the National Lightning Data Network.

It's important to have your plan in place before you head out so you know what to do if you run into a dangerous weather situation.

A good tip to remember is that if you hear thunder roar, you should head in doors.


Insider Blog

Luke Victor

Luke Victor gives forecasts on ABC 17 News broadcasts and reports on weather stories on air and online, giving viewers and readers a deeper look at what causes different types of weather.


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