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Lightning Safety Tips for Summer Storms

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Chip Ward

JACKSON, Miss – Lighting its been three years since someone was killed by it in Mississippi until this Friday when Shannon Mosley was struck while riding her hose in Clarke County. The horse died instantly and Shannon died the next day at the hospital.

This time of the year is the peak for people getting struck by lightning in Mississippi because of frequent thunderstorms and the fact that more people are outdoors. According to the National Weather Service, more than 400 people are struck by lightning in the US each year. While not all lighting strikes result in death, they can leave victims with permanent disabilities.

“The best guideline is to get inside. We encourage people to look out so they can get to a structure or a vehicle in time,” said Steve Wilkinson with the National Weather Service.

It is best to find a substantial structure with some type of grounding during a lighting storm. A stand-alone public restroom is probably not a good choice and you most definitely do not want to be near trees.

“If you feel like you are about to be struck you want to get yourself as little in contact with the ground as possible. So if you lay out flat more of your body would be in contact with the ground,” said Wilkinson. “If something is about to strike you, you feel your hair standing up or some kind of electrical current, the best thing to do is the lighting crouch.”

Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact it the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground. Also, if you are near other people, be sure to spread out many body lengths apart.

National Weather Service Meteorologist David Cox says the probability for lighting hitting the ground is much greater on the coast.

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