Lightning is one of nature's most awe inspiring and dangerous phenomenon. The average lightning flash could light a 100-watt light bulb for more than 3 months! The temperature of a lightning bolt may reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit which is hotter than the surface of the sun!
On average, lightning kills one person in Kansas per year, and about 73 nationwide. In fact, lightning remains one of the most deadly weather phenomena in the U.S., and it can occur almost anywhere throughout the entire year. Lightning occurring during snowstorms has even killed people! Many people incur injuries or are killed due to misinformation and inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms. A few simple precautions can reduce many of the dangers posed by lightning.
Do you hear it? Once you hear thunder, it is time to act to prevent being struck by lightning. Generally speakingonce you can see lightning or hear thunder, you're already at risk for lightning injury or death. If the time delay between seeing the flash (lightning) and hearing the bang (thunder) is less than 30 seconds, immediately seek a safer location.
Avoid being in or near High places and open fields, isolated trees, gazebos, open sided picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communication towers, flagpoles, light poles, bleachers (metal or wood), metal fences, convertibles, golf carts, water (ocean, lakes, swimming pools, rivers, etc.)
When inside a building AVOID: Use of the telephone or computer, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or any contact with conductive surfaces with exposure to the outside such as metal door or window frames, electrical wiring, telephone wiring, cable TV wiring, plumbing, etc.
If driving: Stay in your automobile. An enclosed automobile offers reasonably good protection from lightning, as long as you don't touch metal.
Pay attention to weather warning devices such as NOAA Weather Radio and/or credible Lightning Detection systems. Noaa All Hazards Radio and local weather forecasts should be monitored prior to any outdoor event to determine if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Use good common sense if living in or traveling across Kansas this year.