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Weather Service: Be Cautious Around Lightning

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This week is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which should have more significance to those in Wyoming since this state leads all states in the lightning death rate per million people – with a total nearly twice that of the next highest state.  Meteorologist Chris Jones says the highest incidence of people struck by lightning is found in western Wyoming.  Jones says peoplefrequently are recreating above tree line a long way from suitable shelter.  Their best bet is to get below timberline and if they are in a group they should spread themselves out.  He also says anyone outside in a thunderstorm should limit their contact with the ground – never lie down on the ground. Jones also says people should not mistakenly think it is safe because the storm cell is still some distance away where lightning won’t reach them.  He says it is not uncommon to see strikes that are five to ten miles from the cloud, and strikes that come from the leading anvil of a storm rather than the base of the cell where it is raining.  Another statistic that Jones points to is the number of lightning victims is 80% men.  That, he says is probably because men tend to be higher risk-takers in their activities.

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