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News Flash: Lightning Kills!

More than 400 people are struck by lightning every year in the US; between 55 and 60 people are killed and hundreds suffer permanent disabilities and injuries.

All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous, so pay attention to these important facts:

  • Don't be fooled by blue skies. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. Many deaths occur ahead of storms or after storms have seemingly passed. If you are outside and hear thunder, you are in danger.
  • Picnic shelters, dugouts, sheds and other partially open or small structures are NOT safe. A safe building is one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor, such as a home, school,office building or a shopping center.
  • Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the U.S. Avoid corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Lightning can travel through the plumbing system, so avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.
  • Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder.

For more helpful tips visit http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov or contact the U.Va. Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.