CARROLLTON, Mo.- The National Weather Service (NWS), The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the State Emergency Management Agency have come together to promote Missouri Summer Weather Safety Week 2017 with the focus on excessive heat and lightning.
Since 1980, the total number of heat-related deaths in Missouri is 1,111 people. There have been 101 deaths attributed to lightning from 1959 – 2016, an average of 2 deaths per year. In comparison, the the average number of deaths caused by tornadoes since 1950 has risen to 6.
Jonathan Welsh, Meteorologist with the NWS in Pleasant Hill, Mo., stated, “A lot of this excessive heat and lightning doesn’t get as much attention compared to the common forms of severe weather but we’re going to be using multiple avenues to really enhance the messaging.
According to the NWS, before heading to the park, lake, scenic river, ball game or to any outdoor activity be ready for unexpected or even hazardous weather conditions. Monitor local media, pay attention to changing weather conditions, listen for thunder, monitor stream levels, and be aware of the effects to excessive heat.
Excessive heat can be fatal in a lot of cases including leaving children/pets being left in a closed vehicle. The NWS urges Missourians to learn the symptoms of heat disorders and know how to give first aid.
Lightning can strike as much as 10 miles away from the rain area of a thunderstorm; that’s about the distance that you are able to hear the thunder from the storm. There is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. One lightning stoke can generate between 100 million and 1 billion volts of electricity. Telephone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States; in turn the advice would be to not make a call unless its an emergency.
For important safety information you can visit the National Weather Service’s website and help them spread the word about excessive heat and lighting safety so everyone can have a safe summer.