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Lightning is No Joke in Florida

Watching the powerful, hot flashes of lightning on the ocean’s surface as a storm rolls in can be exciting in Florida. However, anyone living or visiting the Sunshine State needs to understand that lightning is a form of electricity and can strike up to 10 miles away from a storm.

The state’s warm, humid weather makes it particularly vulnerable to storms with lightning. With an average of 25.3 lightning strikes for each square mile, Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes and resulting deaths.

If you hear thunder, the safest place to be is inside since the way lightning travels you can be hit when the sky is clear and blue. Immediately go indoors and never stay in the water during a storm. It’s a myth that you’re safe in rubber shoes and you should also take precautions when indoors. Stay away from doors, windows, and other objects that conduct electricity. Don’t use the phone.

The resulting electricity from lightning acts similarly to water when it travels and it will follow the path of least resistance. It can move through the ground, the electrical wiring and plumbing in your house, metal in the home and gutters, and even rebar in concrete. Victims of a lightning strike are often struck as the electrical charge travels along and through the ground.

It’s a good idea to unplug electrical devices – surge protectors are ineffective against a direct strike. Contact with washers and dryers during an electrical storm are particularly hazardous. Remember that lightning can strike in the same place twice and often does.

Victims of a lightning strike will require immediate medical care. People don’t retain a charge after being struck and it’s safe to render aid. Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. making it imperative that you take appropriate precautions to keep yourself, loved ones and pets protected.

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