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As severe weather season begins, safety tips to protect yourself from lightning

Severe storm have already impacted the Northland, but here are some basic safety tips to prevent from you getting struck by lightning.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Lightning is one of the top storm-related killers in the United States alongside tornadoes and flooding.

Although lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years according to the National Weather Service (NWS), its important to understand what to do if you’re caught in a lightning storm.

There are about 25-million lightning strikes in the United States annually which isn’t the highest in the world.

According to the NWS, about 20 Americans die every year from lightning with hundreds more injured.

The most common activity that people were doing when struck was fishing.

Experts say when you’re out on the water and sense a storm coming on, the best possible thing you can do is get to shore as quickly as possible and seek shelter.

And certainly don’t head out on the water in the first place if there’s dangerous weather in the forecast.

Duluth Assistant Fire Chief Brent Consie said it’s also important to understand especially while on the water lightning can still happen even if it’s sunny out.

“Typically, lightning strikes within about 3 miles of the center of the storm, but it can strike 10 to 15 miles away and that’s where you hear that ‘bolt from the blue’ where somebody gets struck when its not rainy out or still even sunny out.” said Consie.

Consie said one common myth many people believe is that crouching down during a lightning storm can help prevent you from being struck. Being anywhere outside is not safe and crouching doesn’t lower your chances whatsoever.

Consie also explained to not take a shower, use a corded phone, or electronics during a lightning storm. He said in the case of a shower, it’s a conduit.

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