The Main Stream

Jun 11, 2012 11:56 AM

Monsoon safety awareness week kicks off with a bang

TUCSON - Monsoon safety awareness week is underway for the southwest.

With the official start of the monsoon coming up Friday June 15 this entire week has been named Monsoon Safety Awareness Week. Each day will cover a different topic to offer up tips and facts to keep you safe during this year's monsoon.

Today's topic is the danger associated with lightning strikes. When thunderstorms form lightning can strike up to ten miles away from the nearest storm so the main thing to remember is when the thunder roars, head indoors. The safest place to be when a thunderstorm strikes is in a sturdy building or in a metal topped vehicle. Places to avoid include open areas, trees, porches and swimming pools.

Lightning can heat the air to 50,000°F that's five times hotter than the surface of the Sun. The heat of that bolt causes the air to rapidly expand causing the boom that we hear as thunder. Contrary to popular belief thunder does not roll at one mile for every second. In fact, it depends on a lot of variables, but the sound of thunder travels at about one mile every five seconds. For example, if you see the flash of lightning than count to ten seconds before you hear the thunder that means the lightning flashed only two miles away. The general rule is if you can hear thunder you are close enough to be struck so head indoors and wait until 30 minutes after you hear the last roll of thunder.

Lightning is one of the top three storm related killers. In the U.S. on average 54 people a year have been killed by lightning strikes. So far in 2012 there have been three lightning related fatalities.

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