Agencies offer tips to avoid lightning injuries

Two state agencies have partnered with the National Weather Service to declare this lightning safety awareness week.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Natural Resources are reminding people that it's estimated that more than 1,000 people are injured in this country annually from lightning strikes. On average, another 62 die.

Since 1960 in Illinois, 99 people have been killed by lightning. And so far this year, eight people have been killed by lightning around the country.

About 67 percent of lightning deaths occur at recreation events such as baseball and soccer games and track meets, at lakes and on golf courses.

Lightning is most likely to happen in the spring and summer in the late afternoon or evening, but it can happen any time. No place outdoors is considered safe when a thunderstorm is near.

If you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Take shelter in a sturdy building with the windows and doors closed or get in an enclosed, hard-topped vehicle with the windows closed.

Do not go outdoors for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

For information, visit www.weather.gov/lincoln or www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.

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