Occasionally, thunder and lightning are known to accompany the rain. During these thunderstorms, children are usually afraid of the lightning and they have good reason to be, after all, it can be deadly. There are two recent cases that prove this point which took place within a span of two months. 22-year-old Jacob Weibe was struck by lightning while working on a barbed wire fence. And just last week, 9-year-old Sylvia Bol was sheltering from the rain under a Cohune tree when she was struck by lightning. Lightning can carry up to a billion volts. Love News spoke with Ronald Gordon, a Climatologist for the National Meteorological Service who said the safest place to be during a thunderstorm is in your home. Gordon recommended some safety tips in case you are caught in a thunderstorm.
Ronald Gordon – Climatologist: “Don’t take shelter under any tall object especially like trees and so on because those are especially dangerous because the lighting is attracted to anything that is protruding like tall trees, antennas and that sort of thing so you should avoid those as much as possible if you are caught outdoors.”
Reporter: For example you and your friends are at the beach?
Ronald Gordon – Climatologist:“Yeah I would recommend getting out of the water. Water is a very good conductor of electricity so you will want to avoid water as much as possible. Most people vehicles don’t; if they are struck by lighting it is actually grounded and goes to the ground.”
Janelle Mckenzie: “Let’s say you are at home; is it wise to take off the television, the phone or any other electronic devices that is on?”
Ronald Gordon – Climatologist:“Well I would say taking off the television is more the safety of your device. You know that during a thunderstorm you can have an electrical surge and it can damage you equipment.”
Gordon said given certain weather conditions, they can predict the possibilities of a thunderstorm but pinpointing an exact location is difficult.
Ronald Gordon – Climatologist: “We look at the conditions that are conducive for thunderstorm development and based on those conditions if we see those we forecast thunderstorms. The exact location of a thunderstorm is a different situation. We cannot predict exactly where the thunderstorm will occur but we can alert the public that there is going to be a thunderstorm if the conditions are right. For a thunderstorm to occur , I don’t want to get too technical but, you have to have something with great instability in the atmosphere. That means you have for example very hot conditions near the surface and above in the atmosphere is very cold so it creates what we call instability in that the cold air wants to come down; it’s heavier and the warm air is lighter so it wants lift and actually that lifting mechanism is very conducive for Thunderstorm sound development. It creates those tall clouds that you see with thunderstorm and we call them cumulonimbus clouds so they are actually more frequent when you have that type of condition so we look at those, we do a sounding of the atmosphere in that we send up a balloon up every morning and it actually measures the conditions that are in the atmosphere so we can say that it is conducive for Thunderstorm development or not and I must reiterate again. We cannot say exactly where it is going to occur.”
There are some persons who have been struck by lightning and survived.