DYK about 30-30 Lightning Rule and how to stay safe during thunderstorms #FactsPedia

DYK about 30-30 Lightning Rule and how to stay safe during thunderstorms

#FactsPedia, Education, Science

30-30 rule is the standard to find the chances of lightning in your area. 30-30 stands for – 30 seconds and 30 minutes factor. View more facts at #FactsPediaIn.

How to deal with the Lightning and Thunderstorm

First of all find the safer and sheltered place and immediately leave the spot if conditions are unsafe. Keep yourself active and make sure you are following the 30-30 guidelines.

30 seconds: Count the seconds between seeing lightning and hearing thunder. If this time is less than 30 seconds, lightning is still a potential threat. Seek shelter immediately.

30 minutes: After the last lightning flash, wait 30 minutes before leaving shelter. Half of all lightning deaths occur after a storm passes. Stay in a safe area until you are sure the threat has passed.

Lightning is an electrical discharge caused when static electricity builds up between thunderclouds, or thunderclouds and the ground. Lightning strokes carry up to 100 million volts of electricity and leap from cloud to cloud, or cloud to ground and vice versa. Lightning tends to strike higher ground and prominent objects, especially good conductors of electricity such as metal.

Facts and Stats

Lightning is the storm killer in the U.S., killing more than hurricanes or tornadoes on average. Only floods kill more. But the real story of lightning isn’t the deaths, it’s the injuries. Only about 10% of those struck are killed; 90% survive. But of the survivors, many suffer life-long severe injury and disability. These injuries are primarily neurological, with a wide range of symptoms, and are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Lightning also causes about $5 billion of economic loss each year in the U.S.

Logical causes of Lightning

Thunder is the noise caused by the explosive expansion of air due to the heat generated by a lightning discharge. Thunder may have a sharp cracking sound when lightning is close by, compared to a rumbling noise produced by more distant strokes. Because light travels at a faster speed than sound, you can see a lightning bolt before the sound of thunder reaches you.

To judge how close lightning is, count the seconds between the flash and the thunder clap. Each second represents about 300 meters. If you can count less than 30 seconds between the lightning strike and the thunder, the storm is less than 10 km away and there is an 80 percent chance the next strike will happen within that 10 km. If you count less than 30 seconds, take shelter, preferably in a house or all-metal automobile (not a convertible top) or in a low-lying area.

Lightning Safety

Lightning safety involves several easy steps that anyone can do. While lightning safety can be inconvenient, consider how inconvenient the alternative of not following these simple rules could be! Adults are ALWAYS responsible for the safety of children under their care; this includes lightning safety.

No Place Outside is Safe During Thunderstorms

Lightning may strike several kilometers away from the parent cloud and precautions should be taken even if the thunderstorm is not directly overhead. If caught outdoors:

  • If caught in a level field far from shelter and you feel your hair stand on end, lightning may be about to hit you. Kneel on the ground immediately, with feet together, place your hands on your knees and bend forward. Don’t lie flat.
  • If you are in a group in the open , spread out, keeping people several yards apart.
  • Keep a safe distance from tall objects, such as trees, hilltops, and telephone poles.
  • Avoid projecting above the surrounding landscape.
  • Seek shelter in low-lying areas such as valleys, ditches and depressions but be aware of flooding.
  • Stay away from water. Don’t go boating or swimming if a storm threatens and land as quickly as possible if you are on the water. Lightning can strike the water and travel some distance from its point of contact. Don’t stand in puddles even if you are wearing rubber boots.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as tractors, golf carts, golf clubs, metal fences, motorcycles, lawnmowers and bicycles.
  • Avoid being the highest point in an open area. Swinging a golf club or holding an umbrella or fishing rod can make you the tallest object and a target for lightning. Take off shoes with metal cleats.
  • You are safe inside a car during lightning, but don’t park near or under trees or other tall objects which may topple over during a storm. Be aware of downed power lines which may be touching your car. You are safe inside the car, but you may receive a shock if you step outside.
  • In a forest, seek shelter in a low-lying area under a thick growth of small trees or bushes.
  • Keep alert for flash floods, sometimes caused by heavy rainfall, if seeking shelter in a ditch or low-lying area.

Distribution of lightning: Wiki

Lightning flash density – 12 hourly averages over the year (NASA OTD/LIS) This shows that lightning is much more frequent in summer than in winter, and from noon to midnight compared to midnight to noon.

thunderstorms distribution map across world #FactsPedia
thunderstorms distribution map across world #FactsPedia


Myth is: Cars are safe because the rubber tires insulate them from the ground.
But Truth is: Cars are safe because of their metal shell.
Myth is: Lightning victims are electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
But Truth is:It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.

If you can’t get to proper lightning shelter, at least avoid the most dangerous locations and activities

  • Avoid higher elevations
  • Avoid wide-open areas, including sports fields and beaches
  • Avoid tall isolated objects like trees, poles, and light posts.
  • Avoid water-related activities: boating, swimming (includes indoor pools), and fishing.
  • Avoid golfing.
  • Avoid open vehicles like open farm tractors, open construction vehicles, riding lawnmowers, and golf carts (even with roofs)
  • Avoid unprotected open buildings like picnic pavilions, rain shelters, and bus stops
  • Avoid metal fences and metal bleachers.

What if the disaster happened

Persons who have been struck by lightning receive an electrical shock but do not carry an electrical charge and can be safely handled. Victims may be suffering from burns or shock and should receive medical attention immediately. If breathing has stopped, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should be administered. If breathing and pulse are absent, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation is required.

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