Lightning: Nature's Underrated Killer

It's a weather phenomenon that happens in all thunderstorms. Known as nature's underrated killer, lightning takes more lives each year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined.

"Lightning can hit as much as 10 miles in front of the storm and that is frequently where we see the injuries," said Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, the director of the Lightning Research Program.

That's why it's important to follow this safety slogan by Mike Utley from the Lightning Safety Campaign: "If you can hear it, clear it. If you can see it, flee it." He added: "Lightning is a killer. Learn CPR."

Whether playing golf, swimming, or enjoying a hike in the woods, getting caught outdoors during a thunderstorm is a gamble with Mother Nature.

We often hear that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery. In fact, the odds of being struck by lightning are nearly 1 in 650,000, whereas the odds of winning the Kentucky Lottery are 1 in 5,250,000.

Even though we would all rather win the lottery, our chances of being struck by lightning are seven times greater.

If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm with no shelter around, simply find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Squat low to the ground covering your ears and making yourself the smallest target possible.

People that are struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and can be safely touched. First aid procedures should begin immediately.

Hopefully, the next time storms roll into Kentuckiana, you will know a little more about lightning and how to protect yourself.

Online Reporter: Kevin Harned
Online Author: Melissa Schantz