1. DIRECT STRIKE
- Direct lightning strikes occur in open areas.
- Direct strikes are not as common as other ways of getting struck.
- They are potentially the most deadly kind of lightning strike.
2. SIDE FLASH
- A side flash occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim.
- It's when a portion of the lightning current jumps from a taller object to the victim.
- Side flashes occur most often when the victim is within 1 or 2 feet of the object being struck.
- Most often happens when someone takes shelter under a tree.
3. GROUND CURRENT
- When lightning strikes a tree or other object, much of the energy travels outward from the strike in and along the ground surface.
- This is known as the ground current. Anyone outside near a lightning strike is potentially a victim of ground current.
- In addition, ground current can travel in garage floors with conductive materials.
- Ground current causes the most lightning deaths and injuries.
- Ground current also kills many farm animals.
- Lightning can travel long distances in wires or other metal surfaces.
- Metal does not attract lightning, but it provides a path for the lightning to follow.
- Most indoor lightning casualties and some outdoor casualties are due to conduction.
- Whether inside or outside, anyone in contact with anything connected to metal wires, plumbing, or metal surfaces that extend outside is at risk.
- This includes anything that plugs into an electrical outlet, water faucets and showers, corded phones, and windows and doors.
- While not as common as the other types of lightning injuries, people caught in
“streamers” are at risk of being killed or injured by lightning.
- Streamers develop as the downward-moving leader approaches the ground. Typically, only one of the streamers makes contact with the leader as it approaches the ground and
provides the path for the bright return stroke; however, when the main channel
discharges, so do all the other streamers in the area.
- If a person is part of one of these streamers, they could be killed or injured during the streamer discharge even though the lightning channel was not completed between the cloud
and the upward streamer.
- Lightning can strike over 10 miles away from a storm.
- If you hear the thunder roar, go indoors.
- 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder it is safe to return outside.
Want lightning alerts sent to your phone? Well, the WBRC Weather App will notify you if lightning is within a certain radius of your home/current location. You will be alerted that lightning is nearby, even if you haven't heard thunder yet. Go to settings and turn on lightning alerts if you haven't already on the app. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I'll be more than happy to walk you through the set up process.
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist