Why is it Called a Thunderstorm When it is the Lightning that Kills?
by Daphne Thompson, on Jul 15, 2016 2:41:35 PM
When thunderstorms roll in, it isn't unusual for people to want to take a look outside. Some may want to stand in the rain, especially when it's not severe. However, storms with lightning are never something you want to mess around with.
The RadarScope animation below shows slow moving thunderstorms around Baton Rouge on Thursday afternoon. While none of the lightning strikes show up exactly in the city, you can see that many storms were around. The lightning caused over 1,200 people to lose power in the area. Another bolt hit an apartment complex, leaving one person dead and another injured.
Just last night, residents in Oklahoma had storms come through producing a lot of lightning. While the thunder was deafening, the strobe light effect from the lightning was a good reminder not to be outside. Looking at the WeatherOps Lightning Archive Report, there were 464 strikes within 5 miles of the WDT office.
They may be called thunderstorms, but it is not the thunder that will hurt you. Lightning storms is a much better description and reminds people of the real danger. Those who work outside need to be especially alert to lightning. Including yesterday's fatality, 10 people have died in the U.S. from lightning strikes this year. The number of people seriously injured by lightning averages around 150 a year. In 2015, property damage from this hazard was over $16 million. In India, where lightning is the leading killer for natural disasters, over one hundred have died in 2016.
More than half of lightning fatalities are men. This is mainly because more men tend to have jobs where they work outside. Yet, in the summertime there are many spending long hours in the sun. Whether working outside, swimming, playing golf, or hunting Pokemon, you need to make sure you stay weather aware and safe from lightning.
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