Lightning Can Kill!
Lightning is one of the most consistent causes of weather-related deaths and injuries in the U.S. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, there are approximately 100 lightning-related deaths and over 1000 injuries yearly. Risk is present WHENEVER lightning can be seen, or thunder can be heard. As soon as cloud-to-ground lightning is seen or thunder is heard, practice and competition should be suspended immediately.
It is essential that schools develop a Lightning Safety Plan. The NFHS provides the following guidelines.
Assign staff to monitor local weather conditions before and during events.
Develop an evacuation plan, including identification of appropriate nearby shelters.
Develop criteria for suspension and resumption of play:
When thunder is heard or a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt is seen, the thunderstorm is close enough to strike your location with lightning. Suspend play and take shelter immediately.
Thirty-minute rule. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard or a flash of lightning is witnessed before resuming play.
Any subsequent thunder or lightning after the beginning of the 30-minute count, reset the clock, and another 30-minute count should begin.
Hold periodic reviews for appropriate personnel.
For additional information on lightning safety, see the links below:
National Lightning Safety Institute
The Weather Channel
The National Weather Service
Lightning and Thunder Guidelines (NFHS 2014)
VISAA SMAC Lightning Best Practices (2013)