Severe Weather Awareness Week: Lightning

Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in the Carolinas, especially in the summertime.

On average, over a million lightning flashes occur across the Carolinas each year. South Carolina averages 447,014 and North Carolina of 528,092.

We're especially vulnerable to the dangers of lightning due to the abundance of outdoor activities. From 1959 to 2011, 193 lightning deaths occurred in North Carolina, ranking the state 3rd most in the U.S. behind Florida and Texas. In South Carolina, 99 people lost their lives due to lightning.

Since we spend so much time outdoors, it's important that we keep lightning safety tips in mind at all times.

Even if it's not raining, if you can see lightning and/or hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

An important safety tip to follow is the 30/30 rule.

The first 30 represents 30 seconds. If the time between when you see the flash and hear the thunder is 30 seconds or less, than the lightning is close enough to strike you. If you haven't already, seek shelter immediately and head indoors.

The second 30 represents the 30 minutes you should wait before heading back outdoors. More than half of lightning deaths occur after a thunderstorm has passed.