By: Brittany Bedi | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 22, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida’s Severe Weather Awareness Week runs from January 22 to 28. Each day is devoted to a different severe weather topic. The WCTV Pinpoint Weather Team is taking time to highlight each topic during the week.
Severe Weather Awareness Week covers lightning as Monday’s topic. The phenomena is quite common throughout the state of Florida. The tropical climate and warm air during the summer makes it a perfect breeding ground for sea breeze-induced thunderstorms.
While beautiful, lightning is very deadly. Lightning killed more than 300 people in the United States in the past 10 years. While 2017 had only 16 fatalities in the year, Florida still led the nation in lightning deaths. All five deaths in Florida occurred during outdoor leisure activities or at a construction site
The National Weather Service uses the latest technology to monitor storms. NWS meteorologists use the GOES-16 satellite and lightning mapper to help issue timely warnings.
Mark Wool is the warning coordination meteorologist at NWS Tallahassee.
"That [GOES-16], I'm telling you has given us a plethora of information,” said Wool. “Among that, is lightning detection, and we get the data at such high frequency, that it's kind of transformed our ability to use satellite in warning scenarios."
While Florid and South Georgia tend to see thunderstorms develop along a sea breeze or ahead of a cold front, it’s important to remember that a thunderstorm doesn’t have to be severe to be dangerous.
The best thing to do in a thunderstorm is to stay in a sturdy building until 30 minutes after hearing the last rumble of thunder. Lightning can strike even if it isn’t raining.