Wyoming Sees Higher Lightning Injuries, Fatalities than Most of U.S. Since 1959

Wyoming Sees Higher Lightning Injuries, Fatalities than Most of U.S. Since 1959

Originally reported by Oil City News – Brendan LaChance

CASPER, Wyo. — The National Weather Service in Riverton said on Wednesday, June 17 that “National Lightning Safety Awareness Week” is approaching, adding that it is important for people in Wyoming to consider the dangers of lightning.

“Since 1959, Wyoming has been typically in the top five in the nation per capita population involving lightning injuries and fatalities,” the NWS in Riverton said. “Lightning is always known as one of the underrated killers. All thunderstorms have lightning and this hazard can be deceptively deadly.”

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The NWS offered a motto for people to keep lightning safety at the front of people’s minds: “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

“If outdoors and in higher elevations and you hear thunder, you could be struck by lightning,” the release adds. “You are in the danger zone. You can audibly hear thunder up to 10 miles in any direction from your location. It is important if outdoors to get low to avoid being struck by lightning.”

If people are outdoors when a thunderstorm is approaching, they should avoid the following areas:

  • mountain tops
  • ridgelines
  • cliffs
  • rocky overhangs
  • wide open areas
  • lakes
  • creeks
  • boggy ground
  • tall, isolated trees

“Remember, lightning will strike the tallest object,” the NWS added.

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 21-27. The NWS in Riverton said that they along with the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, county emergency management agencies and other groups will be provided further information about lighting throughout the week.

“Each day of the week will be a focus on a specific aspect of lightning safety,” the release states.

The schedule for the public education effort aimed to prevent lightning injuries and deaths is as follows:

  • Sunday, June 21: initial introduction to lightning and lightning safety
  • Monday, June 22: discussion about the science of lightning and thunder
  • Tuesday, June 23: lightning safety when outdoors
  • Wednesday, June 24: lightning safety indoors
  • Thursday, June 25: lightning safety involving sports activities will be highlighted
  • Friday, June 26: medical effects involving lightning victims
  • Saturday, June 27: a look at protecting your home from lightning.