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Hartselle Enquirer

Beware of lightning

The hot and humid summer months of June and July, prompted by heat and humidity, they can develop in a hurry, most unnoticed, and put us in harm’s way even though they may only produce a few sprinkles of rain.

While it’s the rumbles of thunder they produce that first grab our attention, the flashes of lightning that come before cause the damage.

Perhaps that’s why one week in June each year is set aside and observe as “Lightning Safety Awareness Week.” Sponsored by the Lightning Protection institute, the purpose of the observance is to educate the public about the danger of being struck by lightning and offers us some advice on what we can do to protect ourselves. 

All it takes to feel the fear of being stuck by lightning is to be caught outside in a thunderstorm.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working in the yard, fishing on a lake or walking down a street, you know it’s time to take cover when you can feel the hair standing up on the nape of your neck.

Lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths in the United States It claimed the lives of 28 people in 2014. In fact, 85 percent of its victims were children and young men of ages 10 to 35. One of its recent victims was a 70-year-old Florida man who was picking blueberries in a field near his home.

To prevent an injury or possible death from lightning, the Lightning Prevention Institute to prevent injury or possible death from lightning, the Lightning Prevention Institute recommends the following:

•If you are outside when a thunderstorm approaches, immediately seek shelter in a fully covered building

. •If a building isn’t available, take shelter in a car with a metal top and keep doors and windows closed.

•During thunderstorms, avoid lakes, beaches, open water, fishing from a dock and riding in golf carts, farm equipment, motorcycles and bicycles.

•If out in the open, minimize your risk by going to a place of lower elevation. Never stand under a tree.

Remember: The National Weather Service recommends staying indoors if you see lightning and hear thunder within 30 seconds.

Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.

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