According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes the ground more than one-half million times per year in Arkansas. This ranks the state 12 in the nation in the number of lightning strikes per square mile. On average, lightning kills more people than tornadoes do nationally.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management advises residents to follow some lightening safety tips: 1. One should watch for environmental clues, such as increasing wind, flashes of lightning, sounds of thunder, darkening skies, and AM radio static. A local station or a NOAA Weather Radio usually has the latest weather conditions.
2. One should avoid being the tallest object.
3. One should not stand under or near an isolated tree or small group of trees.
4. When outdoors, one should go inside a sturdy structure before the storm approaches.
5. One should not use the telephone during a storm unless it's an emergency. It is OK to use cell phones.
6. Get out of boats and away from water.
7. If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard topped vehicle and keep the windows up. The rubber tires DO NOT protect you; it's the roof.
8. If one feels skin tingle or hair stand on end, they should squat low to the ground on the balls of the feet. Hands should be placed on knees with head between them. One should be the smallest target possible and be sure to minimize contact with the ground.