‘When thunder roars, go indoors’: How to keep safe before lightning strikes

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related

As spring turns to summer, an increase in lightning storms has officials reminding people to go indoors when thunder roars.

Lightning is most common between April and September, according to Environment Canada.

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related, based on hospital admissions and work-related injury data collected by Statistics Canada. Most injuries happen in June and July.

The weather agency is kicking off its upcoming Lightning Safety Week with a number of tips.

Lightning is most likely in the afternoon

Outdoor enthusiasts are cautioned to plan their camping, boating and hiking outside of 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on days when thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Look for pre-lightning indicators

Dark clouds and increasing wind speeds can mean that a storm is approaching. If you can hear thunder, it means lightning is within striking distance and it’s time to find shelter immediately. Enclosed buildings or hard-topped vehicles are safe options.

Environment Canada warns that the sound of thunder can be blocked by mountainous terrain, large buildings or environmental noise such as airplanes, traffic, and lawnmowers.

Use the lightning danger map to see where storms are heading

Wait a full 30 minutes after the last roll of thunder before going back outside.

Environment Canada’s lightning map shows high-risk lightning and the movement of storms with 10-minute updates. Each red dot is based on forecasters observing lightning.

Lightning can lead to wildfires

Lightning causes roughly 60 per cent of all wildfires each summer in B.C.

The BC Wildfire Service says the severity of wildfires may be reduced through land management activities such as fuels management, prescribed burning and landscape fire management planning.

ALSO READ: 40,000 lightning strikes and over 200 new fires across B.C. in two days

If you see smoke or flames, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.

WATCH: Emergency crews respond to lightning-caused fires in Cariboo


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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