Lightning Awareness Week in Iowa

The NWS and Iowa Homeland Security designates June 19th-23rd as Awareness Week

Lightning is the third highest storm-related killer in the United States with an average of 47 deaths per year over the last 30 years. Only floods and tornadoes average more deaths in the United States. In 2016, there were 38 lightning fatalities in the United States.

No place outside is safe near a thunderstorm. When outside, keep an eye on the sky. Most people are struck by lightning before or just after a storm because they wait too long to seek shelter or go back outside too soon.

If you hear thunder, go indoors! Lightning can strike up to 15 miles away from the rain related to the storm. Seek shelter in a building or hard-topped vehicle. Don’t go outside until 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder. This will insure the thunderstorm is far enough away that it’s safe to resume outdoor activities. 


All lightning deaths result from cardiac arrest. If you’re with a victim, call 9-1-1 to get professional medical help then apply CPR if possible. A common myth is that lightning victims are electrified and dangerous to approach. This is false! About 90% of lightning victims survive, so your first aid may save a life. 

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