Lightning: Quick Facts
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...from the National Weather Service
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- What is often referred to as "HEAT LIGHTNING" is simply the lightning from a distant thunderstorm that is too far away for the resultant thunder to be heard. In most cases, the light you observe is being reflected off clouds near the horizon. Keep an eye on the storm though, since it may be headed in your direction.
- Lightning can strike up to ten miles ahead of, or ten miles behind a thunderstorm.
- Most lightning deaths occur during the summer months, and during the late afternoon and evening. These are the times when lightning is most likely to occur and when people are more likely to be caught out-of-doors.
- In the U.S., an average of 300 people are injured and 80 killed each year by lightning, which is more than tornadoes or hurricanes.
- An AM radio can be used to monitor for any lightning activity. Tune the radio to an unused frequency and listen for the static caused by a lightning discharge. Your radio will be able to pick up this static from greater distances than you'd be able to hear thunder.
- The average flash of lightning contains enough electricity to light a 100 watt light bulb for more than 3 months or the equivalent compact fluorescent bulb for about a year.
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