Monday, June 20, 2011

Lightning Awareness Week : Being safe is not a matter of prayer

photos by Jonathan Schechter

Lightning Quick Facts From NOAA          

Lightning often strikes the same place
repeatedly if it is a tall, isolated object.

Most lightning victims are in open areas
or near a tree.

In Florida, lightning kills more people
than all other storm-related weather events.

Lightning can heat its path through the air
to five times hotter than the surface of
the sun.

Severe weather is becoming our new norm; and lightning is no exception.   Summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena— lightning: A force that is responsible for some of the fires raging in Arizona and Florida. Summer dawns on Tuesday. In the United States, an average of 55 people are killed each year by lightning. To date, there has been 5 deaths in 2011.

Michigan ranks second to Florida from  injuries from lightning.  Hundreds of people are permanently injured each year in the USA. People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, severe burns, cardiac issues, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms and depression.  This is LIGHTNING AWARENESS WEEK and the National Weather Service is pushing its slogan, "When Thunder Roars -Go Indoors!"  Wise advice.  What is not wise behavior is the human thought process of, "I'll be OK, I pray to be safe."   Take a look at the photos above from the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Nothing wrong with prayer if it gives you sense of comfort, but if this statue needs a lightning rod for protection--perhaps we need to be more aware and use common sense too when thunder rumbles. Stack the deck in your favor and give lightning the respect it deserves - - and demands.


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