SC Severe Weather Awareness Week: Lightning

Lightning can be more deadly than a tornado and causes, on average, 55 to 60 deaths and 400 injuries per year in the United States. The last time someone died from a lightning strike in South Carolina was 2008, while boating.

Lightning occurs in every thunderstorm. It forms when electricity travels between areas of opposite electrical charge within a cloud, between clouds, or from a cloud to the ground.

Lightning can strike up to ten miles out from the center of the storm. To calculate the distance from you to any lightning strike, all you have to do is count the seconds between the actual strike and the sound of thunder and divide by five. This gives you the approximate distance in miles.

If you hear thunder, you should immediately head inside. There is no safe place outdoors when a thunderstorm is nearby. If a thunderstorm sneaks up on you and you don't have time to find shelter, never stand near metal objects or under trees. You want to try to make yourself the smallest object. If you are indoors during a thunderstorm, stay away from doors and windows. Turn off and suspend using electrical appliances and completely avoid water.

While lightning is considered more deadly than tornadoes, flooding accounts for the most weather related deaths a year. Thursday, we talk about what you can do to avoid being caught in a flood.

To review the National Weather Service lightning safety tips, click here.

To review our other Severe Weather Awareness Week stories, click on the links below.