Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME

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992 NOUS41 KGYX 191101 PNSGYX Public Information Statement National Weather Service Gray ME 0700 AM EDT Mon Jun 19 2017 The National Weather Service has declared the week of June 19th through 23rd, LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK in Maine and New Hampshire. This is the first in a series of five public information statements to be issued by the National Weather Service Office in Gray, Maine containing information on lightning and lightning safety. LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING SAFETY--AN INTRODUCTION In the United States, there are between 20 and 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year. Maine averages about 60,000 flashes while New Hampshire has about 30,000 flashes. While lightning can be fascinating to watch, it is also extremely dangerous. Each one of those 25 million flashes is a potential killer. Based on data for the last 30 years (1987 to 2016), lightning has killed almost more than 1400 people in the United States, an average of 47 people per year based on documented cases. In addition, during this same period, lightning has injured an estimated 13,000 people, some left with life-long neurological damage. In the last 10 years, Maine has seen 3 deaths, making it the 10th highest in the nation per capita. During this same period, New Hampshire has not had a fatal lightning incident. In addition to the deaths and injuries, lightning causes considerable damage across the nation. Each year, lightning is the cause of about 25,000 fires, including about 4400 house fires, 1800 other structural fires, and numerous forest fires. Those fires are responsible for an additional estimated 12 deaths per year. All totaled, lightning causes nearly $1 billion in damages each year. During the next several days, we`ll provide additional information on lightning and lightning safety. We`ll cover what you can do to protect yourself from this dangerous killer. Most importantly, we want you to remember that there is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm. When thunder roars, go indoors! Lightning fact for today: The best protection from lightning is a substantial building. If you can`t get inside a substantial building, a hard-topped metal vehicle will protect you from lightning. If the vehicle is struck, the lightning will follow the outer metal shell of the vehicle to the ground. It`s important to make sure that you`re fully inside the vehicle with the windows rolled up. Note that the rubber tires do not prevent the vehicle from being struck, nor do they provide any protection. Here`s a list of topics we`ll cover later this week: TUESDAY - Lightning`s Most Deadly Activities WEDNESDAY - Lightning Safety and Sports Activities THURSDAY - Lightning Safety at Work FRIDAY - Lightning Safety Around the Home For additional information about lightning or lightning safety, visit NOAA`s Lightning Safety Awareness web site at: $$ National Weather Service Gray...Maine NNNN is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.