First lightning death of the year raises concern - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First lightning death of the year raises concern

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DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA -

On average 53 Americans are killed by lightening each year and July is typically the deadliest month.


Monday's death was the first lightning fatality in Georgia this year.  Emergency officials want you to practice good safety when it's lightning outdoors to make sure no one else is killed.

Thunderstorms have been rolling through Southwest Georgia nearly every day this summer, and those storms produce potentially deadly lightning. 

"This time of the year of course we're getting rain every day, something we need but also with rain you quite often get the lightning, and once again this time of the year people are doing outside sports, particularly around the water," said EMA deputy director Jim Vaught.

Grand Island golf course employees are sure to immediately make people aware of severe weather threats.  They say keeping golfers safe is their number one priority!

"We have marshals that are on the course, that let us know if they see something coming up, the pro shop typically keeps the weather channel on at all times, we actually have it here on our cell phones," said Grand Island golf course general manager Paige Etheredge.

Even on their computers, workers at the golf course receive briefings from the National Weather Service.

"What this does is just give us an overview of potentially damaging weather, anything that comes up that we might need to be aware of," said Etheredge.

To make sure you're safe when thunderstorms come rolling through South Georgia, Dougherty County EMA deputy director Jim Vaught has these safety tips.

"You can't fool with Mother Nature, you need to get inside, you want to stay away from those telephones with the lines, and you want to stay out of the shower and the bath tub, out of the windows, out of the door ways."

Vaught says if you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you need to find a way to get inside as quickly as possible or else your life could be in danger.

Lightning can strike up to ten miles away from a thunderstorm. Monday's death in Decatur County is the twelfth lightning fatality in the country so far this year.

For more statistics and information on the danger of lightning visit the website below:

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/fatalities.htm.

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