KKTV - Blogs - Talk Weather

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Lightning and Wildfires

Posted information is courtesy of the NWS Office in Pueblo. Thanks for all the information guys, and I hope everyone stays safe this severe weather season. Lightning and Wildfires... THE MOST DANGEROUS ASPECT OF THUNDERSTORMS IS USUALLY LIGHTNING. FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS…LIGHTNING HAS KILLED AND INJURED MORE PEOPLE IN COLORADO THAN ANY OTHER THUNDERSTORM HAZARD…WITH AN AVERAGE OF 3 FATALITIES AND 15 INJURIES EACH YEAR. THE TOLL COULD BE EVEN WORSE SINCE STUDIES INDICATE THAT MANY LIGHTNING INCIDENTS ARE NOT REPORTED. LIGHTNING ALSO CAUSES MOST OF THE FOREST AND RANGELAND FIRES IN COLORADO. THE SITUATION USUALLY OCCURS WHEN LIGHTNING IS GENERATED FROM THUNDERSTORMS WHICH PRODUCE LITTLE OR NO RAINFALL. MORE THAN 500 THOUSAND CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING STRIKES OCCUR EVERY EVERY YEAR ACROSS COLORADO. EACH LIGHTNING STRIKE CONTAINS MILLIONS OF VOLTS OF ELECTRICITY…ENOUGH TO SUPPLY POWER TO SEVERAL HOMES FOR A MONTH. LIGHTNING ALSO HEATS THE SURROUNDING AIR UP TO 50 THOUSAND DEGREES FAHRENHEIT…CREATING A SHOCK WAVE THAT RESULTS IN THUNDER. LIGHTNING IS UNPREDICTABLE AND OCCASIONALLY BEHAVES IN A STRANGE MANNER. IT CAN DESTROY ONE OBJECT WITHOUT TOUCHING ANOTHER ONE NEARBY. LIGHTNING CAN ALSO HIT SOMETHING SUCH AS A TREE AND THEN TRAVEL ACROSS THE GROUND ELECTROCUTING ANYTHING IN ITS PATH. LIGHTNING NORMALLY STRIKES THE TALLEST OBJECT IN AN AREA. TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM METAL OBJECTS AND WATER...WHICH CONDUCT LIGHTNING CURRENT. MOST LIGHTNING FATALITIES OCCUR OUTDOORS...MOST NOTABLY UNDER OR NEAR TALL TREES...IN OR ON WATER...OR ON HIGHER GROUND. LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE THE GROUND UP TO 20 MILES AWAY FROM THE THUNDERSTORM. IT BECOMES OBVIOUS WHY YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM THUNDERSTORMS WHEN YOU ARE OUTSIDE. ONE WAY TO ESTIMATE YOUR DISTANCE FROM LIGHTNING IS TO USE THE FLASH TO BANG TECHNIQUE...WHEN YOU COUNT THE NUMBER OF SECONDS BETWEEN THE TIME YOU SEE LIGHTNING AND THE TIME YOU HEAR THE THUNDER. EVERY FIVE SECONDS EQUALS ABOUT ONE MILE. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU BEGIN TO SEEK SHELTER IF THE TIME BETWEEN THE LIGHTNING FLASH AND THE RUMBLE OF THUNDER IS 30 SECONDS OR LESS. YOU SHOULD NOT RESUME ACTIVITIES UNTIL WELL AFTERN THE LAST THUNDER CLAP. STAY OFF CORDED PHONES WHEN LIGHTNING IS IN YOUR AREA....SINCE THE ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE CAN TRAVEL ALONG THE TELEPHONE LINES AND PRODUCE FATAL RESULTS. IT IS ALSO RECOMMENDED THAT YOU UNPLUG SENSITIVE ELECTRONICS SUCH AS COMPUTERS WHEN LIGHTNING IS LIKELY TO OCCUR...BEFORE THE THUNDERSTORM ARRIVES. STAY AWAY FROM ELECTRICAL DEVICES WHEN LIGHTNING IS NEARBY. GET OUT OF SHOWER STALLS...BATH TUBS...SWIMMING POOLS...BOTH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR...AND OFF LAKES WHEN THUNDERSTORMS THREATEN. THE BEST DEFENSE TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST A LIGHTNING STRIKE IS TO PLAN AHEAD AND AVOID BEING CAUGHT WHERE YOU MIGHT BE VULNERABLE. CHECK THE WEATHER FORECASTS PRIOR TO VENTURING OUT…ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE HEADING INTO THE MOUNTAINS. PLAN YOUR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR EARLY IN THE DAY BEFORE THUNDERSTORMS TYPICALLY DEVELOP. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS AND CHECK THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTS AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV. IF THUNDERSTORMS THREATEN…SEEK SHELTER IN A SUBSTANTIAL BUILDING OR IN AN ENCLOSED METAL ROOF VEHICLE. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LIGHTNING SAFETY...PLEASE CHECK OUT THE WEB SITE... WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING IN COLORADO...PLEASE GO TO THE COLORADO LIGHTNING RESOURCE WEBPAGE AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/PUB/LTG.PHP. Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe
Read More Blogs

KKTV firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKTV 11 News.

If you believe that any of the comments on our site are inappropriate or offensive, please tell us by clicking “Report Abuse” and answering the questions that follow. We will review any reported comments promptly.

powered by Disqus
KKTV 520 E. Colorado Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Office: (719) 634-2844 Fax: (719) 632-0808 News Fax: (719) 634-3741
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability