Lightning can travel in four ways:
- From one point to another within the same cloud.
- From a cloud to clear air.
- From cloud to cloud.
- From cloud to ground. Cloud to ground lightning is the most deadly.
Lightning can cause death and serious injury in a matter of seconds. Lightning creates thunder. If you hear thunder it means lightning is near and you are in danger. You can be struck up to twenty miles from the cloud that produced the lightning. You can calculate how far you are from a lightning strike easily by counting the seconds between lightning and the thunder. Then divide by 5. That is the miles between you and the strike. So, 20 seconds = 4 miles away.
Lightning safety tips
1. If you’re outside:
- Don’t be fooled by blue sky. (Clouds can be miles away and lightning can still strike.)
- Remember the 30-30 rule: When you see lightning, count until you hear thunder. If it is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within 6 miles.
- Find shelter inside a building.
- Never seek shelter under a tree. That tree can act as a lightning rod, and you could be killed or seriously injured if the tree is struck.
- Stay away from water and metal, because both conduct electricity.
2. If you’re inside:
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- Avoid contact with anything that conducts electricity including: telephone with a cord, such as a landline phone; other electronics plugged into an electrical outlet.
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