Lightning storms are a threat to be taken seriously. Lightning bolts carry a charge of millions of volts and can reach temperatures greater than the surface of the sun. The tremendous heat causes the surrounding air to rapidly expand and vibrate, creating the thunder that roars soon after the flash. Although we associate lightning with accompanying rain, statistics show that most injuries and deaths occur either before the rain starts or after it ends. Lightning can strike in the heart of a storm or far from its center, giving rise to the saying, like a bolt out of the blue.

Environment Canada advises that the safest place during a thunderstorm is inside a fully enclosed building. Once inside, avoid contact with anything that can serve as a conductor, like plumbing fixtures, electrical appliances, or phones with landlines. Unplug electronic devices, postpone doing the dishes or taking a shower, and stay away from windows. Remain inside for 30 minutes after the last thunder dies away.

If you cannot reach safety indoors, the next best place to take shelter is in an enclosed vehicle with a solid body and metal roof. It is the metal body of the vehicle (not the rubber tires) that offers protection, meaning that a convertible or ATV will not protect you. Caught outdoors, wait out the storm in a low place away from trees, power poles or other tall objects.

Lightning seeks the path of least resistance to ground. That makes tall objects like trees, power poles, powerlines and towers prime targets. Lightning may damage a pole or line through a direct hit, or by striking a nearby tree, bringing branches down on the line. During lightning season, as at all times of the year, Battle River Power Coop responds to members’ outage calls as quickly as safety allows. If you experience a power outage, please report it by calling 1.877.428.3972.