Lightning Facts and Figures
Summer time is thunderstorm season and that means you need to be on the lookout for lightning. It is estimated that lightning flashes occur an average of 2.34 million times a year in Canada. That means there are 2.34 million chances each year for an injury or loss due to lightning strikes. During the summer months, that is one chance every 3 seconds.
While it might be a little late in the season, here are a few facts and figures to acquaint yourself with as lightning season draws to its close:
- Lightning is most likely to strike between 1 pm and 6pm
- July has the highest number of lightning strikes in Canada
- Lightning is attracted to tall, pointy, isolated objects
- There are multiple types of lighting strikes, the two most common are ground-to-cloud, cloud-to-cloud
- Cloud-to-ground lightning is the most dangerous kind of lightning, but cloud-to-cloud is the most common
- Lightning doesn’t just occur during thunderstorms, it is also known to occur during dust storms, forest fires and volcanic eruptions
- “Sheet lightning” is a term used to describe flashes that illuminate an entire cloud, but the bolt itself is nowhere to be found
- Each year 100-150 Canadians are injured by lightning strikes; there is an average of 10 fatalities per year
- A person who is struck by lightning carries no electrical charge, so it is fine to assist them and perform first aid/CPR as necessary.
- Metal does not attract lightning; it simply acts as a conduit.
- When indoors during a thunderstorm, you should unplug any electronics you want to keep safe. Power surges are common in such a charged atmosphere.
- If trapped outside during a storm, you should seek shelter in a low laying area, not near a tall tree or lone standing structure that is more likely to attract lightning.
Source – Environment Canada: Lightning Safety
Photo – © Sondem – Fotolia.com
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