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Lightning Can Be Dangerous, Here's How to Stay Safe

Florida may be the “Lightning Capital of the World”, but do we really know how dangerous lightning can be?

A lightning bolt can be 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s hotter than the sun. Each bolt moves almost 200,000 mph and can hold up to a billion volts of electricity.

Lightning strikes in the U.S. about 25 million times a year, and it can be deadly.

Lightning struck three people on a beach on the East Coast of Florida last Thursday.

“Lightning’s typically going to strike the tallest object in an area. So if you’re in an open area, even standing on the beach, you’re technically one of the higher points in that area,” National Weather Service Hydrologist Eric Oglesby said.

When you’re outdoors in rainy weather, follow the motto “When thunder roars, go indoors”. It could help save your life.

But if you’re caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere, follow these steps from the National Weather Service:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas like hills, mountain ridges or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (power lines, windmills, etc)

Reporting by Jalyn Henderson and Bo Evans