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Officials share tips on how to stay safe from lightning strikes

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jun 27, 2019

INVERNESS, Fla. -- With Florida being the lightning capital of the nation and thunderstorms starting to roll in every afternoon, weather experts say June, July and August are the most dangerous months of the year for lightning strikes.

"That’s our number one safety issue besides the wind, lightning," said Christopher Evan, Citrus County Emergency Operations deputy director.

That’s because lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun. It can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can still strike up to 30 minutes from after hearing the last clap.

The National Weather Service says lightning strikes in the U.S. 25 million times a year.

Their data shows that in the last 10 years, it has killed 216 men and 61 women.

That’s because it can carry an electrical current on top of the ground that’s deadly up to 100 feet away from where it strikes.

"It used to be the thought that if you were outside, crouch down really low and were not near trees, you’d be OK. That’s a myth now. It’s not safe at all to be outside when you have lightning," said Evan.

We’re told the safest place to take shelter during lightning is in a home, business or even a car.

Places that are unsafe include sheds, picnic shelters, dugouts and under awnings.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s office just installed a new weather center on their roof to monitor storms and help keep the public safe as well as first responders.