It’s the time of year that thunderstorms are prevalent and that means being safe when it comes to lightning. Meteorologist with Environment Canada Dan Kulak says that in both Canada and the U.S., the saying to keep in mind is “if you see it, flee it” and “if you hear it, fear it”.
“The storms that approach don’t often have a lot of weather associated with them. Roughly 80 per cent of fatalities from lightning are from storms that don’t any warnings with them like heavy rain, winds or possibility for tornado.”
There is a myth that the tires on your car act as a grounder for a strike but Kulak explains that it is actually the body of the vehicle that would protect you. He explains that you need to make sure that you don’t touch anything that could be conduct electricity from the cage of the vehicle if it were hit my lightning.
“In Alberta, we get about 300,000 or so lightning strikes a year. Every one of those are potentially deadly and we think of the thunderstorm as making a lot of noise but we forget about what is causing that thunder which is the lightning. It really only takes lightning strike to kill a person.”
He says the best way to be safe is to keep a shelter nearby at all times and if you do take cover in a vehicle, make sure it has a metal roof on it.