National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
TTAA00 KLIT 021200

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Little Rock AR
600 AM CST Tue Mar 02 2021

...Todays Topic for Severe Weather Awareness Week is Lightning...

The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Arkansas 
Department of Emergency Management, has proclaimed the week of 
February 28th through March 6th as Severe Weather Awareness Week 
in Arkansas.  

A different topic will be discussed each day, and todays topic 
is lightning. 

Lightning is a hazard in all thunderstorms, whether they are 
severe or not. In the last 30 years, lightning was the third 
deadliest thunderstorm hazard behind flash floods and tornadoes. 
There are an average of 40 to 50 fatalities a year due to 
lightning across the country. 

Across Arkansas in 2020, while there were several house fires
triggered by lightning, no fatalities or injuries were 

Most lightning deaths occur in the summer /June, July and 
August/ when people are outdoors. Eight out of ten
victims of lightning are male.

If a person is struck by lightning, that persons body will not 
retain any electrical charge. Thus, the injured person can and 
should be cared for immediately. 

Lightning can strike as much as 10 miles away from a thunderstorm 
cloud. Given this, it is no surprise that most lightning deaths 
occur as a thunderstorm is approaching or moving away, and not 
necessarily overhead. 

Lightning tends to strike tall objects, but not always. The air 
is a poor conductor of electricity, so lightning will often go 
the shortest distance to make a connection from cloud to ground. 

Statistics show that Arkansas is a top 10 state as far as lightning 
activity in the last ten years. The state experiences more than
830,000 cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per year /over  
14 lightning flashes per square mile/.

...Some Lightning Safety Rules...

Remember, it is lightning that causes thunder. If you can hear 
thunder, you are in danger from lightning. When thunder roars, go
indoors. The safest place is a fully-enclosed building that is 
grounded. A hard-top car is also a safe location. Keep the windows 
rolled up and do not touch metal inside the vehicle. 

Do not take shelter in small sheds, pavilions, or tents, or under 
trees. Stay away from higher elevations spots such as hilltops, and 
avoid nearby poles and towers.

Move away from chain-link fences and other metal fences such as 
those around ballparks and playgrounds. 

Motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and farm tractors are not safe 

If you are in the water, get out immediately. If you are in a 
boat, head toward safe harbor.

Organizers of events/activities are advised to designate a 
weather watcher. Assign an official who will stop the
events/activities when lightning becomes imminent. Have
specific evacuation instructions in place so people know
where to go.    

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity, so do 
not use electrical appliances or corded phones. Computers and 
other expensive electronic equipment may be damaged by power 
surges. You may consider unplugging these items. 

Stay out of the bathtub or shower. 

Get off the golf course.


For a list of all the tornadoes and other significant weather 
events that occurred in 2020...