TUESDAY, APRIL 4 - THUNDERSTORM HAZARDS: LIGHTNING


We're now into the time of year when thunderstorms become more frequent. Tornadoes get a lot of attention as one danger posed by thunderstorms, but only a very small fraction of thunderstorms actually produce a tornado, and the chances that you had ever come face-to-face with one around here are very very slim.

But every thunderstorm has lightning. It's estimated that lightning hits the earth about 100 times per second - that's more than 8 million times a day. The United States alone receives as many as 20 million lightning hits per year, and in an average year, lightning kills or injures hundreds of people in this country. That's more than the averages for tornadoes and hurricanes.

In fact, in this part of the country, lightning and flash flooding are the severe weather hazards that, at least statistically, you have the most to worry about. Tomorrow night, I'll talk more about giving lightning the respect it deserves.

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