These Shocking Idaho Lightning Facts Could Save Your Life
Now that it's March, it won't be long before we'll be dealing with thunderstorms. And, that means we'll also be facing the potential for lightning danger. Here are some facts that you might find useful that might even save your life.
First, the good news. According to the National Weather Service, Idaho is one of the safest states when it comes to lightning fatalities.
From 2006 through 2015, Idaho also ranked very low in cloud-to-ground strikes. According to a NOAA report, in 2015 there were estimated to be 122,876 lightning strikes, which sounds like a lot. But, compare us to Texas who had over 4,000,000 and we're in pretty good shape.
But, it only takes 1 lightning strike to completely ruin your day. According to the NWS, your chances of getting hit by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 13,000. But, the odds that someone you know/love will be struck are 1 in 1,300. Hitting a little too close to home literally?
Think there's only one way to get struck by lightning? Wrong. According to NOAA, there are five. There's the direct strike, which is what it sounds like - lightning strikes you directly. You can also be hit by what is called a side flash. That's what happens when lightning hits something else, then connects to you. Lightning can also injure or kill you by striking the ground near you or by conduction if you happen to be in contact with a metal fence or something that allows the charge to be passed to you - sometimes over long distances. There's also a rare occurrence called a "streamer" where the lightning acts like it has fingers and can fork out connecting to you, just like it did to this dude.
Have you heard that crouching can save you? It doesn't and the NWS doesn't recommend it. To avoid lightning danger, they do recommend the following:
- Avoid open areas.
- Don't be or be near the tallest objects in the area.
- Don't shelter under tall or isolated trees.
- In the woods, put as much distance between you and any tree.
- If in a group, spread out so that you increase the chances for survivors who could
come to the aid of any victims from a lightning strike.
The bottom line is to be aware of approaching storms. There are apps you can download to your phone that will warn you when storms that contain possible lightning are near. Check out the NWS lightning page for more info on how not to get shocked in a bad way.