Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wrong Moves Can Be Deadly With Lightning, UF Experts Say

Date:
July 12, 1999
Source:
University Of Florida's Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences
Summary:
With summer thunderstorms once again in full swing, University of Florida researchers are reminding those playing or working outdoors to be wary of the deadly lightning that comes with them. Staying away from wide-open spaces is the best lighting defense, researchers say, but ducking under a large tree or in a small shelter not protected from lightning makes you part of the lightning rod.

GAINESVILLE -- With summer thunderstorms once again in full swing, Universityof Florida researchers are reminding those playing or working outdoors to bewary of the deadly lightning that comes with them.

Staying away from wide-open spaces is the best lighting defense, researcherssay, but ducking under a large tree or in a small shelter not protected fromlightning makes you part of the lightning rod.

"Lightning is attracted to the highest object in an area, and a tree thatextends beyond the surrounding landscape can become the target of a strike,"said Martin Uman, director of UF's Lightning Research Center. "Isolated golfcourse and picnic shelters that are not protected from lightning also arerisky."

Among those who make their living outdoors, farm and ranch workers areespecially at risk, said Carol Lehtola, agricultural safety specialist forUF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

"We all know that golfing and other sports expose you to lightning, but mostpeople don't realize that farm and ranch workers are at high risk becausethey do much of their work outdoors far away from shelter," Lehtola said.

In May, for instance, seven farm workers in Myakka City were injured whenlightning struck the metal flatbed trailer they had crawled under forshelter from a storm.

"Too often, workers and their supervisors stay on the job until it startsraining and get back to work as soon as they can after a storm passes," shesaid. "They don't realize that lightning can strike them when thunderstormsare in the area but the sky above them is clear."

All crews of farm workers should include at least one person who hastraining in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, Lehtola said, and supervisors ofagricultural workers should carry a weather radio so they can be alerted tostorms in plenty of time.

Lightning danger begins with the first rumble of thunder and continues until30 minutes after the last thunder clap or lightning bolt, Lehtola said.

To judge how far away lightning is, she said, measure the time betweenseeing the bolt or flash and hearing the thunder that follows.

"You can gauge the number of seconds between the thunder and lightning onyour watch or by counting by 1,000s," she said. "Every five seconds betweenwhen you see lightning and you hear thunder means the lightning is a mile away."

Uman offered more tips on avoiding being hit by lightning: * Avoid standing above the surrounding landscape in an open field or on a beach.

* Stay away from wire fences, rails and other metallic paths along theground that could carry lightning currents to you.

* If you're in a small boat or swimming, come ashore, since the electricalcurrent from a nearby strike can flow through the water to you.

* Take shelter in a house or building with a floor, electrical wiring andplumbing or in a car with the windows rolled up. Golf carts are unsafe.

* In open spaces, lie down or crouch in a ravine or valley. If no ravine orvalley is nearby, get in any depression in the ground.

* In a wooded area, seek shelter in a thick growth of small trees. No onetree is more likely to be hit than any other.

If a person is struck by lightning, Lehtola said, it's important not toassume they are dead simply because their heart has stopped beating or theyhave stopped breathing.

"More than 80 percent of lightning victims survive, but it's important toimprove a victim's chances by administering CPR," she said. "It's tragicthat most people don't know what to do."

More information on lightning safety is available athttp://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls.html, the Web site of the NationalLightning Safety Institute, and more information on agricultural safety isavailable at http://agen.ufl.edu/~clehtola/agsaferef.htm, the Web site ofthe Florida Agsafe Network.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida's Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida's Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences. "Wrong Moves Can Be Deadly With Lightning, UF Experts Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990712075403.htm>.
University Of Florida's Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences. (1999, July 12). Wrong Moves Can Be Deadly With Lightning, UF Experts Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990712075403.htm
University Of Florida's Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences. "Wrong Moves Can Be Deadly With Lightning, UF Experts Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990712075403.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins