Lightning strikes every three seconds during the summer months in Canada. Besides causing power outages and forest fires, lightning strikes can also seriously injure or kill.
Through recent advances in detection technology, Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service has improved its ability to track lightning and display high-risk lightning areas.
See the new Canadian Lightning Danger Map by clicking the Lightning link found on Weather.gc.ca.
These maps are updated at an interval of 10 minutes and are based on recent lightning observations. There is also a video entitled “How to Use the Canadian Lightning Danger Map” to help users understand how to use the new lightning danger map and stay safe.
If the map indicates that you are in a danger area, or if you hear thunder, you should go to a safe location, either a building with plumbing and wiring or an all-metal vehicle.
Stay there for 30 minutes following the last rumble of thunder. Why stay inside so long? Research in North America shows that one-third of lightning injuries and fatalities occur in the early stages of a storm, one-third at the peak of a storm and one-third once the peak of the storm has passed by.
Each year lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians and injures approximately 100 to 150 others.
Environment Canada issues Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings when severe weather such as large hail, strong winds, heavy downpours, or even tornadoes are possible. When planning outdoor activities this summer, it is important to listen to weather forecasts, and to keep an eye on the sky as weather conditions can change quickly.
For more information, contact a warning preparedness meteorologist: 1-866-672-5463.