As many as 10 people will die from being struck by lightning in Canada this year, and another 100-150 will be injured. Spring and summer are the seasons for thunder and lightning on the prairies, and Environment Canada wants to make sure Canadians are staying safe when those storms are rolling in.
Meteorologist Bill McMurtry says you are in danger of being struck by lightning both before and after a storm, not just during it as many people believe.
“One third of all deaths and injuries occur as the storm is approaching, and one third of all lightning deaths and injuries occur as the storm is leaving . You are more likely to be killed or injured by lightning before or after than you are during the storm.”
If you are outside when a storm is approaching McMurtry says the safest place to be is indoors or inside a car, but there are things to avoid if you can’t get to either.
“You want to stay away from tall objects such as tall trees, towers, even things like metal fences. You want to be, essentially, not the tallest object in your local area and if there’s a group of people, you want to spread out a little bit as well.”
Here in Grande Prairie, McMurtry says we can expect roughly 19 days this spring and summer where we will see lightning strikes. More than a quarter million strikes will touch ground in Alberta this year.