Lightning safety - severe weather preparedness

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(WAND) - Last week was Severe Weather Preparedness week and it’s important to know what to do when lightning is on the horizon.

When lightning strikes, there’s no place outside that is safe. But finding the right shelter isn’t always easy, and that can be dangerous for anyone caught outside.

According to the National Weather Service, there were five lightning fatalities in the state of Illinois and over three hundred nationwide from 2007-2016.

Lightning can strike 5-10 miles outside of a storm, so it’s important to quickly find the right shelter.

According to officials, almost two-thirds of lightning fatalities happened to people who had been enjoying outdoor activities. They say that if you’re ever caught outside where lightning is present, avoid seeking shelter under places like overhangs or pavilions.

Have a plan to find shelter indoors, in a building that has electricity or plumbing like a bathroom.

If you’re unable to reach safety outdoors, there are ways you can decrease your chances of being struck by avoiding open fields or hilltops, staying away from tall, isolated trees, and steering clear of water or wet objects.

Worst case scenario, your car or truck can provide shelter from lightning.

The National Weather Service says preparation is your best defense against being struck by lightning.

Know the forecast ahead of time, especially if plan on spending time outdoors. If thunderstorms are predicted, adjust plans or have a shelter in mind.

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