Lightning Safety Awareness - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Lightning Safety Awareness

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(KYTX) -- An unpredictable force of nature claimed 23 lives in the U.S. last year. The dangers of lightning have been seen in East Texas recently -- coinciding with the National Weather Service's Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

 "We have a lot of lightning and a lot of trees," Charles Hill, Customer Service Manager for Oncor, said.

Storms rolling through East Texas over the past few weeks have had electricians busy.
 "In that one storm we had over 200 different locations we had to go to," Hill said.

Oncor tells me workers replaced fuses, something that doesn't take nearly as long as another common scenario.

"If it strikes a tree, and explodes the tree, and knocks over our power lines then we have as many as 8 to 10 hours picking wire back up," Hill said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association-- fires from lightning strikes are more common during the summer.
"We're talking 10 to 15 fires every year in Smith County that are attributed to lightning," Jay Brooks, Smith County Fire Marshal, said.

A Smith County home was destroyed last Monday after a lightning strike ignited a fire. The homeowners weren't there at the time but three dogs died as a result. It's events like this that prompted the National Weather Service's Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

 "In a lightning storm, stay away from trees go indoors. Get away from tall objects. Power lines," Brooks said.

It's encouraged you get a good ground rod.

"If lightning has a place to go it won't cause as much damage to the house and it could potentially save your house from a fire," Brooks said.

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