No safe place outdoors during lightning storm

INDIANAPOLIS - Two days of severe weather have demonstrated just how dangerous summer storms can be. So far this year, seven people have been killed by lightning and experts warn there is no safe place to be outdoors during a storm.

Last June, three children were struck and injured at a Zionsville summer camp. The lightning strike came out of the blue from a thunderstorm that was miles away.

Storm Team 6 Chief Meteorologist Kevin Gregory said there is no safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm.

"The mistake that we make often times outdoors, we think it's not raining yet, I don't have to go in. I can continue mowing the lawn, continue the game, continue to swim. But it's not true. Lightning can strike 10 miles ahead of the thunderstorm," Gregory said.

Experts with the National Weather Service said 38 percent of lightning deaths happen under trees while people are seeking shelter. Thirty-seven percent of deaths happen in open fields or highways while 25 percent of lightning deaths occur on or near the water.

Meteorologists think that because thunderstorms are so common, it is easy to become complacent during the summer, which is the peak time for powerful storms.

"It doesn't really scare me a lot. When it comes with a storm, it's a little more scary. I spend time in Missouri and we get lots of tornadoes there," Liliana Poulsen said.

Experts warn that during a thunderstorm, anything outdoors is a potential target, even from miles away.

Lightning can also travel through wiring or plumbing in a home. Make sure to never use a cordless phone during a thunderstorm and don’t take showers until the storm has passed.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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