Annual Safety Campaign Reminds Public of Lightning’s Dangers

Maryville, MO – June 24, 2010 — This year marks the 10th Lightning Safety Awareness Campaign, June 20-26. The campaign was launched by NOAA and the National Weather Service to increase awareness about the dangers of lightning and provide the public with safety information to help protect families and their property. Several national groups, including the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc.-FLASH, the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), the Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) and the National Weather Service joined forces at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa on June 20 to kickoff the 2010 campaign.

“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors” has been the slogan of the national lightning safety team. This year the campaign is emphasizing the importance of going indoors sooner and staying inside at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. Lightning experts also stress the importance of developing an on-guard approach to lightning safety, especially as lightning activity peaks during the summer months. Such advice is particularly important in the Tampa Bay area, which is considered the lightning capital of the U.S.

“This time of year, lightning is the No. 1 weather killer across Florida – more so than hurricanes and tornadoes combined,” said Brian LaMarre, lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa. “People must pay attention to weather forecasts in planning their outdoor activities. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, outdoor activities such as boating might not be a good idea,” explained LaMarre.

The campaign has seen a decline in death and injury from lightning strikes in recent years, but already this summer, lightning strikes have claimed nine lives in the U.S.

“Every year there are needless deaths and injuries due to lightning and many of these victims are merely steps away from lightning safety,” said Donna Franklin, director of the National Weather Service Lightning Safety Awareness Team. “Risk reduction should include having a plan and getting to safety well before lightning strikes.”