JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pop-up thunderstorms are common in our area, and given what happened to a 16-year-old in Putnam County earlier this week, we want to help you stay safe when there’s a storm.
Out of all 50 states — Florida is considered the lightning capital of the world.
It’s important you know lightning has the ability to strike 10 miles or more away from the core of any thunderstorm. And when lightning strikes the ground it can travel up to 60 feet outward from where it hit.
So, if you are trapped outside with lightning in the area — some people have heard you should lie flat on the ground to stay safe. That is not true — it’s a myth. Your focus should be getting to a safe shelter.
Another myth is that standing under a tree is not dangerous. Sadly as we saw with the teenager in Putnam County — that is not true.
The National Weather Service says standing under a tree or in a tree during a thunderstorm is actually the second leading cause of lightning deaths.
You should also know rubber tires on a car are not what protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground. Neither do rubber-soled shoes. Those are myths according to the Lightning Safety Council.
If you see someone electrocuted by lightning — help them. Despite what you may have heard, you can not get shocked. The human body does not store electricity so it is perfectly safe to administer first aid to someone who has been hit by lightning.
Also, Lighting is not attracted to metal objects. Instead, the presence of metal makes absolutely no difference where lightning strikes, according to AJC. Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt strikes, the journal said.