Yes, standing under a tree in a lightning storm is extremely dangerous. Don’t do it. But, there’s one place you can be that’s even deadlier — out in the open. According to NOAA records, more people died from lightning strikes they received while out in the open than from any other location between 2006-2016.
So what should you do if you’re caught in a lightning storm? We spoke with John Jensenius, lightning safety specialist at NOAA, for some safety tips. Following is a transcript of the video.
Where’s the most dangerous place to be in a lightning storm? Under a tree is extremely risky.
But there’s an even deadlier place: outside, in the open.
More people were struck and died by lightning out in the open than anywhere else in the US between 2006-2016. Here’s a breakdown of the 5 most dangerous places to be.
Chances are slim but you should still be prepared. Taking shelter in a car or enclosed building is always your best option if you’re caught in a thunderstorm.
But if you can’t find shelter, here are some tips.
Stuck in a forest?
Avoid tall or isolated trees. And stand as far away as you can from any tree.
Camping in an open area?
Pick a valley or other low area to set up camp. Avoid ravines, and beware of possible flash flooding in the area.
Also, remember that tents offer no protection from lightning.
Avoid wet and metal objects.
If you’re in a boat or near long metal fences be extremely careful. Water and metal easily conduct electrical current from one source to another, which could be you.
Always wait 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
50% of lightning deaths happen after the storm has passed. So, be patient and wait a half hour before resuming activity.
These tips can help, but your best defence is to plan ahead. Check the weather forecast before going out. It could just save your life.
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