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Beauty of Nature Can Be Deceiving | Print |  Email

lightningBeauty of Nature Can be Deceiving

Lightning may be one of the most beautiful and awesome forces of nature, but it is also one of the most deadly.  Although elevations, such as mountains, buildings, antenna, trees, and power lines receive frequent lightning strikes, lightning will also strike flat terrain, such as baseball diamonds, parks, farm fields.  Those are all places where a person may be the highest point around, and become a path to the ground for thousands of volts of nature’s deadly electricity.

But even if you are not the highest point around, do not stand near flag or power poles, bleachers, or other objects that may attract a cloud to ground discharge.  Animals and humans, who frequently seek cover under trees at the onset of rain, have become casualties when lightning struck the tree.

An old adage that warns, “Beware the oak, it draws the stroke,” refers to the fact that hardwood trees serve as better lightning conductors than softwood trees.  And in fact, that was the reason the Ancient Greeks and Romans decorated the heads of their leaders and heroes with laurel leaves, knowing the soft-fibered laurel rarely was hit by lightning.

If you hear thunder or see a storm approaching, it is no time to find your handy tree identification guide.  Instead, seek shelter where you will not be hit by lightning, or be near the point of contact with the Earth and become a burn or electrocution victim.

Stay away from open vehicles, metal framed open canopies, or any tall metal object.  Seek shelter in a building which is grounded.  

If someone is struck by lightning, call 911 and care for the victim immediately.  

Heed the motto “If thunder roars, go indoors.” If you see lightning, seek shelter.

 


 

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