Highlands warned of lightning strike threat

National, Normal

PEOPLE who are exposed to thunderstorms are at risk of being struck by lightning and are advised to stay away from huge trees or tall buildings when out in the open during storms, National Weather Service’s Climate and Special Services acting assistant director Kasis Inape said.
Four people were struck dead by lightning on Sunday and last Tuesday during heavy thunderstorms in the Highlands region.
Lightning is associated with thunderstorms and is caused when pressure from heavy rain produces electric charges that come into contact with earth.
“People must be aware that the energy from the lightning is much more than any human can handle and can kill when you come into direct contact with it,” Mr Inape said.
“The only way to keep safe during thunderstorms is to stay away from big trees or vegetation and tall buildings because lightning travels    faster through these mediums to reach earth,” he said.
“Even driving during thunderstorms is not safe because the car is directly in contact with the ground and could explode,” he said.
“Heavy rainfall releases huge energy and when it comes into contact with earth, the circuit is completed so it creates sparks that are very dangerous.
“Thunderstorms are common, especially when there is heavy rainfall. It appears more frequently in the Highlands region or other areas with higher altitude than on lowlands,” he said.