From time to time I share information about thunderstorms. While the good news is that there has been a decline in deaths attributed to these storms over the past few years (54 deaths in 2006 vs. 26 in 2011), 2012 is proving to be a dangerous year. There have been 11 deaths in July alone, and there is one more week of the month to go.
So far this year, thunderstorms have been the cause of 17 fatalities. The most recent was particularly tragic. A 9-month pregnant woman was picking berries in Somerset County, PA, when a storm came through. She sought shelter under a tree but unfortunately that was no protection against the weather. She was killed. I have been in a situation where I was stuck camping and a storm came at me as I made it down a lake. Sometimes, you just have to seek cover and hope for the best.
I urge you to pay attention to weather during the summer months. Thunderstorms can happen quickly and lightning can strike 10 miles from its origin. Most local news stations have interactive radar online. If you think there will be a storm, check it out and stay connected to what will happen in your locale.
This summer is hot and humid. There are bound to be many storms in the next couple months — watch the sky and stay safe. Here are a few random stats:
Ã˜ There are 100,000+ thunderstorms each year
Ã˜ 10% reach severe status with winds topping 57 mph
Ã˜ It is not unusual to see 3.25 hail or tornadoes resulting from a severe storm
Ã˜ The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter.
Ã˜ Expect the storm to last 30 minutes on average.