Information Net for July 2

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Read by: RICK N9GRW

Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena—lightning. But don’t be fooled, lightning strikes year round. The goal of this Website is to safeguard U.S. residents from lightning. In the United States, an average of 54 people are reported killed each year by lightning. To date, there have been 4 deaths in 2012. Hundreds of people are permanently injured each year. People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and more.

Lightning is a serious danger. Through the Nation Weather Service Lighting Safety Web site we hope you’ll learn more about lightning risks and how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your belongings.

Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN

A safe building is one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor, and has plumbing or wiring. Examples include a home, school, church, hotel, office building or shopping center. Once inside, stay away from showers, sinks, bath tubs, and electronic equipment such as TVs, radios, corded telephones and computers.Unsafe buildings include car ports, open garages, covered patios, picnic shelters, beach pavilions, golf shelters, tents of any kinds, baseball dugouts, sheds and greenhouses.

Safe Vehicles

A safe vehicle is any fully enclosed metal-topped vehicle such as a hard-topped car, minivan, bus, truck, etc. While inside a safe vehicle, do not use electronic devices such as radio communications during a thunderstorm. If you drive into a thunderstorm, slow down and use extra caution. If possible, pull off the road into a safe area. Do not leave the vehicle during a thunderstorm.

Unsafe vehicles include convertibles, golf carts, riding mowers, open cab construction equipment and boats without cabins.

Bolts from the Blue


A lightning flash can travel horizontally many miles away from the thunderstorm and then strike the ground. These types of lightning flashes are called “Bolts from the Blue” because they seem to come out of a clear blue sky. While blue sky may exist overhead (or in part of the sky overhead) a thunderstorm is always located 5 to 10 miles (and sometimes even farther) away. Although these flashes are rare, they have caused fatalities.

For more information look at the National Weather Service lightning safety web page.

Lightning Risk Reduction When a Safe Location is Nearby

Read by: Martha KJ4RIQ

Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. Do not shelter under trees. You are not safe anywhere outside.

Plan Ahead!

Your best source of up-to-date weather information is a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). Portable weather radios are handy for outdoor activities. If you don’t have NWR, stay up to date via internet, TV, local radio or cell phone. If you are in a group, make sure all leaders or members of the group have a lightning safety plan and are ready to use it. If you are part of a large group, you will need extra time to get everyone to a safe place. NWS recommends having proven professional lightning detection equipment so your group can be alerted from significant distances from the event site.

Outdoor Lightning Risk Reduction When a Safe Location is not Nearby


Remember, there is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm. If you absolutely can’t get to safety, this section may help you slightly lessen the threat of being struck by lightning while outside. Don’t kid yourself–you are NOT safe outside. Being stranded outdoors when lightning is striking nearby is a harrowing experience. Your first and only truly safe choice is to get to a safe building or vehicle. If you are enjoying other outdoor activities and cannot get to a safe vehicle or building, follow these last resort tips. They will not prevent you from being struck by lightning, but may slightly lessen the odds.

  • Know the weather patterns of the area. For example, in mountainous areas, thunderstorms typically develop in the early afternoon, so plan to hike early in the day and be down the mountain by noon.
  • Listen to the weather forecast for the outdoor area you plan to visit. The forecast may be very different from the one near your home. If there is a high chance of thunderstorms, stay inside.

Word to the Wise


Safety – Field Day encourages lash-ups in the urge to “get ‘er done.” Don’t let safety take a back seat to expedience – not at Field Day and not when doing antenna work at home. Taking the right approach to safety starts with the person looking back at you in the bathroom mirror – it’s not found in books or regulations. My project engineering friend, Dave K5GN, recently suggested three basic rules:#1 Work safely or not at all.#2 There’s always time to do it right.#3 Always address risk, never do nothing about it. Whatever your project – a wire dipole in a tree or a full-size Yagi at 200 feet – make these rules the bedrock of how you and your team operate.

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