This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week. Today’s topic is lightning and lightning safety. Lightning strikes about 25 million times each year in the United States. Kansas is one of the top states to get the most lightning strikes every year next to Oklahoma and Texas.
There are many different types of lightning that could cause these flashes and booms. The first is cloud to cloud. This is exactly what it sounds like. Cloud to cloud lightning occurs when a bolt of lightning travels from one cloud to another across the sky. Similarly, lightning can strike within its own cloud. The next type is cloud to air. Lastly, and most importantly, cloud to ground. Cloud to ground can occur when its not even raining in your area. A lightning strike can shoot out from the top of a thunderstorm and strike many miles away. This is called a Bolt from the Blue. Because of this, when you hear thunder you are encouraged to move indoors and stay away from windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last boom of thunder.
Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun. This means that a lightning strike to a person can be deadly. A strike to a building or a patch of land can easily cause a fire. Lightning kills 49 people on average each year and hits even more houses.
Tonight at 10 on KSN News 3, I spoke with a mom who felt a lightning strike from a house that was hit next door. We will also give tips of how you can protect your house from power surges and fires before severe weather season begins.
–Meteorologist Taylor Cox