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Lightning Safety Awareness Week

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As Sandi mentioned on Friday, today is officially the first day of summer.  With summer come many thunderstorms. As such, the National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team up to do some great work. Many associate them with predicting weather but weather safety is another tremendous service they offer.

I have mentioned John Jensenius (NWS in Gray, Maine) in the past. He provides me with some interesting data on Lightning. Here is his most recent announcement. “This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, and this year marks the 10th annual campaign. The numbers show just how successful  the
campaign has been.

In the 10 years prior to the campaign (1991-2000), the U.S. averaged 54.7 deaths per year.  In the 9 years since the effort began (2001-2009), the U.S. has averaged 40.1 deaths per year. I believe this decrease is largely attributable to increased awareness of the dangers of lightning … thanks to NWS offices, emergency management agencies, and the media. We all share a part in this success.

While fatality rates are improving, lightning continues to be a threat across the country and, in addition to the fatalities, causes many injuries. Continuing efforts are needed to keep the fatality rate from going back up … and hopefully continuing the downward trend”.

If you haven’t visited the NOAA web site lately, you might want to check it out. There’s a lot of good information about lightning there. Just to highlight a few
items.

Main web site

Statistics and more

Near up-to-date list of current year fatalities (also available for other years on previous link)

Maps and tables of fatalities and fatality rates per capita (these should be updated for the past 10 years shortly)

Flashes and flash densities by state

We had a tremendous weather weekend in New England over the weekend. But, Sunday afternoon, there was a whopper of a lightning storm that came and went quickly. As you spend more time outdoors, be sure to pay attention to local weather conditions and always have a plan B should you be surprised by a thunderstorm or worse.

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