A Look at Lightning

What’s a long, lazy summer day in Florida without an afternoon thunderstorm? So common to our summer soundtrack—the pitter-patter of rain on the window and the rumble of thunder in the distance—a summer shower can inspire a sense of nostalgia and wonder (or perhaps frustration if you’re at the beach or on the golf course). Yet, severe weather is nothing to take lightly. Meteorology professor Steven Lazarus shares a few lightning fast facts to remind us not to become complacent about a thunderstorm.

Rain or shine.

Oftentimes, folks are more worried about getting wet than they are about the serious threat of lightning. Remember, you can always change out of wet clothes. Plus, lightning isn’t limited to a downpour. The strike may occur before it’s even raining or outside of the rainfall area.

Anticipating the unexpected.

The most dangerous lightning strikes are the first and the last. The first strike comes unannounced. In fact, as noted above, it may not even be raining yet. The last strike falls during another period of uncertainty—has the storm passed? Is the coast clear?

Bottom line: Take cover.

As tempting as it may be to finish your golf game or catch one more wave, if a storm is approaching, take cover right away. It’s important to err on the side of caution during a thunderstorm. If it comes down to counting mississippis, you’re cutting it too close.

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