Friday, July 17th, 2015 by Audrey Simmons
We think Lightning Awareness Week should run from May through October here in Central Florida! Those of you who have experienced the lightning moving through our area recently have witnessed, it’s serious business.
Dave Baxter, owner of Baxter Restoration tells us, “We restore more homes from lightning related damage during the hot, summer months, than any other time of year”. Two major cases of lightning related damage have been reported just in the past few weeks in Central Florida:
News 13 reported that lightning struck the Avanti Resort down on I-Drive this past Sunday, July 5th. The lightning strike caused a fire destroying the top floor of one of the hotel’s buildings.
Lightning also may have touched down at former ESPN college football analyst and football coach, Lou Holtz’s home on Sunday, June 21st, reports the Orlando Sentinel. A lightning strike is said to have caused the fire that eventually gutted his home.
Lightning Alley? What, What? Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S. It’s also the home of “Lightning Alley”, where the Atlantic breeze from Titusville and the Gulf breeze from Tampa meet head on in Central Florida. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), lightning strikes the United States at least 30 million times per year. Florida averages about 1.4 million of those. This is more lightning per square mile than any other state in the U.S. Abundant amounts of lightning combining with warm weather and year round outdoor activities, make Florida residents more vulnerable to lightning related injuries and deaths than other states.
The damage is done… During a lightning storm, you are always more safe inside than outside. When lightning does strike your home, it usually enters through…
An open door or window
Pipes or wires that run outside, ie. plumbing, electrical, and phone
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, lightning starts about 22,600 fires a year in the United States and of those, 16% cause home structure fires. These fires result in about $451 million annually in property damage.
The 30/30 rule is in effect… If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike. As a good rule of thumb, follow the FEMA recommended 30/30 rule. When you see lightning, begin counting until you hear thunder. If the time is 30 seconds or less, find shelter immediately, then wait 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder before going back outside. Or… go by my rule: if you can see lightning or hear thunder, find cover!
Go inside and away from doors, windows, and porches
Avoid plumbing such as sinks, showers, and washing machines
Don’t use equipment that is plugged into the wall like phones, computers, and dryers
Stay away from concrete floors and walls
Do not stand on any floor that has excessive moisture or water on it like a basement, garage, or patio
Protect your home...
Unplug your electronics to avoid them being “fried” or use surge protectors; but remember, they are not completely lightning proof.
Install a lightning rod; they provide a path for the electricity to reach the ground, protecting your home from catching fire.
If you want to plant trees on your property, plant the larger ones farther away from your home.
Remove any dead or rotting trees and branches so they do not fall during a storm.
Close your shutters, windows, blinds, shades, and curtains.
These facts may be shocking to some; but here in Central Florida, lightning doesn’t need rain on our parade! Be aware, and stay safe!
our service area