Central Florida leads nation in lightning strikes. Here’s 5 shocking lightning myths to know

Central Florida nicknamed ‘Lightning Alley’

ORLANDO, Fla. – The corridor from Tampa Bay to Titusville receives the most lighting in the U.S. annually, which is why it gained the nickname “Lightning Alley” for a reason.

On average, this zone experiences about 56 lightning strikes every square mile annually with about 90% of these strikes happening from May to October between noon and midnight.

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(NOAA National Weather Service)

With stats like these, it is important to know your facts when it comes to lightning here in Central Florida. We all know the chances of getting struck by lightning is minimal, but why chance it?

Here are 5 myths vs facts about lightning strikes:

Myth #1: Lightning never strikes in one place twice

ANSWER: Lightning can strike the same place twice, which it often does. This is especially true for tall and isolated objects. A good example is the Empire State Building that takes about 25 direct lightning strikes a year.

Myth #2: You cannot get struck by lightning if skies are clear and not raining overhead

ANSWER: You can be struck under clear skies. Lightning can travel between 10 to 12 miles from a thunderstorm. Do not wait until rain and thunderstorms to be right overhead before seeking shelter. If thunder roars, go indoors.

Myth #3: Crouching down will reduce your risk of being struck by lightning

ANSWER: Crouching down will not make you any safer. Do not stop and continue moving toward a safe shelter instead.

Myth #4: Lightning victims carry an electrical charge. If you touch them, you can be electrocuted.

ANSWER: The human body does not hold electricity. If a person nearby you has been struck, render first aid and call 911 immediately. In these situations, minutes could be the difference between life and death.

Myth #5: A tree can act as a shelter during a thunderstorm

ANSWER: Just because the tree is taller does not mean you are safe being near or under it. There are many ways you can be struck by lightning indirectly. If you are near tall objects, you hold a higher risk of being electrocuted through side flash or ground current.

(NOAA National Weather Service)

According to the National Weather Service, if you hear thunder try and use the “Flash Bang” method to time the distance of the storm.

  1. When you see the FLASH
  2. Count the number of seconds to the BANG of thunder
  3. Divide this number by five and this gives you the MILES away that the lighting is away from you

It is recommended if the thunder arrives within 30 seconds or less from your location, you should seek shelter immediately.

Another layer of protection is having the News 6 Pinpoint Weather App installed with lightning notifications enabled. This will send you push notifications alerting you when lightning is threatening nearby.

The app is free to download for Apple and Android users in your app store.

About the Author:

Candace joined the News 6 team as the weekend morning meteorologist and reporter. She comes to Central Florida from Miami.