This is national lightning awareness week – coming just at a time people are beginning to spend more time outdoors enjoying the Greater Yellowstone Region. National Lightning Safety Awareness week for 2020 began Sunday, June 21st and concludes Saturday June 27th. It is the National Weather Service’s mission to protect life and property and during this week NWS Riverton will be stressing the importance of lightning safety and having the knowledge needed that can make the difference between life and death. About 23 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur each year in the U.S., with approximately 290-thousand of them occurring in Wyoming each year. Wyoming was 1st in number of lightning deaths & injuries per capita between 1959 and 2017); and since 1995, all of the lightning fatalities in Wyoming have occurred in the mountains. The National Weather Service advises, in the event of a thunderstorm, stop all outdoor activities immediately. Avoid elevated places and open spaces. Stay away from water and tall isolated objects. Do NOT go under trees! Allow time to reach safety. Don’t seek refuge in open structures. If in the water or out in a boat, return to shore and seek shelter immediately.