Lightning Safety Awareness Week
In a press release dated June 17th, the National Weather Service announced it will join weather service offices around the country in participating in the 9th Annual Lightning Safety Awareness Week Campaign the week of June 21 through 27th. Events occurring during the week that Dalhart residents may want to take advantage of include attending the Dillas game in Amarillo and visiting the TxDOT Travel Center on I-40.
“Weather Night at the Dillas” is scheduled for Monday, June 22nd. The Amarillo National Weather Service and KVII-TV are sponsoring the first ever event. Admission to the game is free. The NWS and KVII -TV will be present throughout the evening with numerous give-a-ways, raffles, and information on lightning safety. Gates open at 5:45 p.m. Activities will begin with kids assembling in center field for a weather balloon launch at 6:27 p.m., followed by an official city proclamation of “Weather Night at the Dillas” by Mayor Debra McCartt. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The first 200 kids who pass through the gates will receive a coupon for a free drink at Sonic and their own personal weather balloon.
On Thursday, June 25th, NWS will sponsor a booth at the Amarillo TxDOT Travel Center located at 9700 East I-40 (Airport Road exit). Staff from NWS in Amarillo will be on site to promote lightning safety and will be available to answer any weather related questions both for travelers and locals. There will be give-a-ways and a free raffle for a chance to win a travel cooler and rain gauge.
The 2009 campaign highlights the devastating effects of lightning injuries on victims and their families. The Campaign features a compelling video public service announcement by Ellen Bryan, a Miss Ohio and Miss America hopeful and her sister, Christina Bryan, who was struck by lightning nine years ago. Also new this year is a tri-fold brochure with lightning safety information.
The goal of this campaign is to help people across the nation understand the dangers of lightning so that they will take the appropriate actions when thunderstorms threaten. Last year in the United States hundreds of people were injured or killed by lightning. Lightning injuries can be lifelong and extremely debilitating. On average lightning kills about 60 people annually in the United States.
Lightning deaths and injuries occur most frequently under and near trees and in open areas. Lightning safety is crucial when outdoors, especially since so many summer activities take place in open areas such as athletic fields, golf courses and beaches. When the sound of thunder is heard, seek shelter immediately in a fully enclosed building or hard-topped vehicle. There is no safe place outdoors.
People are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes when a storm is approaching or exiting their area. Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. Rainfall is not an indicator of your risk for being struck by lightning. When thunder roars, go indoors.
More information about lightning safety awareness week is online at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama and http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.