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“When thunder roars, go indoors” this week is Lightning Awareness Week

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:51 PM EDT
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(WBNG) -- This week is Lightning Awareness Week.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says too many people wait too long to get to a safe place when a thunderstorm approaches. A delay can lead to injury and death.

If your plans are outside, plan ahead and make sure you have access to the indoors nearby. Exposed areas, like pavilions and dugouts, are not considered safe.

Lead Meteorologist of the National Weather Service of Binghamton, Mark Pellerito, told 12 News over 400 people are struck by lightning each year and between 30 and 50 people die every year. However, Pellerito said the number has decreased due to an increased awareness of the dangers of lightning.

A thing to keep in mind is that lightning seeks the easiest path to the ground. Pellerito told 12 News anyone outside should not stand near the tallest object or be the tallest object while outside during a thunderstorm.

“It seeks the tallest object, and if you’re the tallest object, you are a lighting rod,” said Pellerito. “If you’re holding a golf club, you become a lightning rod. If you’re standing next to the tallest tree during a storm and you think you’re taking shelter, you’re actually standing next to a lightning rod.”

Although inside is the safest place to be, you should still take precautions while indoors. Beware of electronics plugged in and other wiring, as well as pipes and plumbing. If water is running, a current could run through it.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning is hotter than the sun’s surface and can reach up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.