Severe Weather Awareness

By WBNG Weather

Credit: MGN Stills

Severe Weather Awareness

April 30, 2014 Updated Apr 30, 2014 at 8:26 AM EDT

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared the week of April 28th through May 2nd Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York. Each day this week, a different severe weather topic will be discussed. The hope is to make as many people aware of the dangers that severe weather can bring.

Severe weather has killed more than 50 people in New York over the last 20 years. When you factor in the number one severe weather killer, Flash Flooding, that number rises.

The National Weather Service urges media outlets as well as other public and private entities to help raise awareness during this week so that people’s lives can be saved.

By understanding severe weather terms and severe weather safety, lives will be saved. It is up to you to prepare yourself, your family and your property, for when severe weather strikes. Knowing these dangers and definitions will help you feel safe and even better prepared.

Today’s topic deals with lightning.

What is lightning? Lightning is essentially an enormously large and powerful spark that is created inside a thunderstorm. How, exactly, lightning forms is not entirely decided upon in the scientific community. The most popular theory is that the separation of electrical charge inside the thunderstorm is responsible. A single stroke of lightning can be several miles long and when it flashes, it heats the air which it passes through up to 60,000°F!

The National Weather Service has a saying “When thunder roars, go indoors!” However, if you are ever caught outside during a storm seek shelter immediately in a sturdy building. Keep away from tall objects and stay away from metal objects such as fences or train tracks. Stay away from, and out of, water!

Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

To find out more about how lightning forms and how to stay safe when lightning is present, please visit:

Severe Weather Preparedness
Lightning Facts

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