Beware of Lightning in Florida

Beware of Lightning in Florida

According to the NWS Storm Data, in the last 10 years (2009-2019), the U.S. has 276 reported lightning fatalities (4 so far this year). Moreover, NOAA data indicates that, 64% of death by lightning strikes since 2006, people who were participating in outdoor activities, as for example, doing maintenance service to a pool.

Based on statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, (NOAA), Florida is by far the state where most people die from lightning strikes.

Florida averages 2.92 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per year, followed by Texas, which averaged 1.17 million lighting strikes between 2009 and 2018. Aditionally, Florida ranks first in cloud-to-ground flashes by square mile with an average of 20.4. Runner up by square mile is Louisiana (18.7), and Mississippi (16.6). 

Most people know that rain clouds and high temperatures cause thunderstorms and lightning, but, why Florida has so many lightning strikes?

Well, According to data assemble by Betsy Crips, from the University of Florida, The great number of thunderstorms and lightning deaths in this State is due to of a combination of high humidity levels, high temperatures and its location between the Gulf of Mexico and the  Atlantic Ocean.

Despite this inevitable natural phenomenon, some pool owners in Broward County still complain because their pool has been partially served because of the rain, and the pool tech will not return to perform any missed duties until the next regular service.

Even when somebody want to work during rain, the OSHA regulations are the reason why your pool techs are not allowed to use any pool equipment to brush, skimmer and vacuum any pool during a rain.

Being the number one state with lightning deaths is reason enough to understand why OSHA regulations are so strict about it.

Between 2008 and the end of 2018, 57 people died, well ahead of the second most deadly state due to this cause: Texas, with 23 deaths for the same period.

It is vital that all Florida’s citizen protect themselves and be alert during the storm season. It is very important to know that:

  1. Lightning can reach a radius of 10 miles. Experts say that “If you can hear the thunder, you are at a distance where the storm can reach you”
  2. The best way to protect yourself from the impact of lightning is to check the weather and postpone or cancel any outdoor activity when there is a forecast of storms.
  3. The electricity of the lightning is conducted by the pipes. It is best to avoid water of all kinds during a storm. Do not shower, do not enter the beach or the pool, wash the dishes or wash your hands.
  4. Most electrical discharges occur in the summer, especially in the month of July, in the evening or before nightfall.
  5. If there are trees near where we are, it is very likely that the electric discharge of the cloud falls on the foliage, so it is important not to seek refuge under the plants, since if one of them receives the beam the energy of the discharge It will also affect us.

Staying indoors during the rain is a safety concern not only for our pool tech crew but also for all Florida residents.

The consequences of a lightning strike can be fatal. Failures of the central nervous system, alterations of the heart rhythm, convulsions or death when the respiratory center is paralyzed and suffer cardiac arrest.

Always keep in mind that we are a perfect conductor for electricity because 80 to 85 percent of our body is composed of water. Being out in the open, near an entrance, a cave, hut or shelter, or next to an open window is dangerous because the human body serves as a bridge for lightning.

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