If you’re an early-Boomer, you’ll remember Lou Christie’s 1966 hit Lightnin' Strikes. Lou was singing about the “lips begging to be kissed” kind of lightning, but it’s the kind of lightning delivered by thunderstorms that is a threat to most of us in the Mid-South.
In general, if people can hear thunder, they should go inside, says Mike Brown, associate professor in geosciences at Mississippi State University.
“If lightning occurs within 6 miles of your location, you can be struck. Measure the distance by counting from the time of the flash until the thunder. Every five seconds equal 1 mile,” he said in a recent article by Linda Breazeale of MSU.
We can protect ourselves from the dangers of lightning with large doses of paying attention and common sense.
Ted Gordon, Extension safety specialist at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona, Miss., said in the same article that the best way to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation is to postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are expected.
“If you are outside, move to a sturdy building or a hard-top vehicle. Do not take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees. Stay away from tall objects, such as towers, fences, telephone poles and power lines. If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard-top automobile and keep the windows up. Avoid touching any metal.”
For more good advice about how you can avoid being a lightning statistic, go to National Weather Service Lightning Safety.
And if you just want to drift back in time to Lou Christie’s “begging lips” kind of lightning, try this: Lightnin' Strikes.