INDIANAPOLIS — As we wrap up Severe Weather Preparedness Week, it's time to talk about lightning. This is a threat in any thunderstorm — severe or not.
According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes the United States about 25 million times a year. Although most lightning occurs in the summer, people can be struck at any time of year. Lightning kills about 20 people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured, the NWS reports.
A main reason there are so many injuries is because lightning can strike miles away from the parent storm. Just because it isn't raining overhead doesn't mean you can't be struck. That's why it's encouraged to head indoors if you hear thunder in the distance.
Keep in mind: Electrical currents can travel easily through water and metal. During a storm, its important to avoid being around water and metal objects such as fences, poles or even umbrellas.
Lightning also tends to strike the tallest object in any open space. Avoid open fields, the top of hills, ridges, trees and other tall objects.