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Lightning Safety

Keeping The Game Safe: NOAA Teams With Little League on Lightning Safety Awareness
(A news release from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.) Lightning When the thunder that Little Leaguers hear is not the roar of the crowd, it is time to get inside, because lightning may be close behind. That’s why the NOAA National Weather Service is teaming up with Little League Baseball and Softball to provide valuable life-saving information regarding the dangers of lightning.

“NOAA is proud to partner with Little League on our effort to educate the public on the dangers of lightning, particularly the coaches, umpires, parents and children who are involved with Little League Baseball and Softball,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Lightning is an underrated killer, claiming, on average, more lives than either tornadoes or hurricanes.”

Little League has been proactive in providing lightning-safety information to officials across the country through their safety newsletter, ASAP (A Safety Awareness Program). In a recent newsletter, Little League included a copy of a “Coach’s and Sports Official’s Guide to Lightning Safety,” developed by the NOAA Weather Service. Previously, the April 2002 issue of ASAP included an article written by NOAA on lightning safety.

“The safety of our players, parents, coaches and spectators is of utmost importance to us,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League International. “Lightning is one of our greatest concerns on the field, and we appreciate the safety information that NOAA provides to us. We want everyone involved in Little League Baseball to understand the dangers of lightning so that they will take the appropriate action when thunderstorms threaten.”

“The bottom line is that if you hear thunder, you need to get inside immediately,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the NOAA National Weather Service. “Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from a thunderstorm, which is about the distance that the sound of thunder can travel and be heard. All thunderstorms produce lightning, and each lightning strike is a potential killer.”

Lightning casualties can occur at any time of the year but are most frequent in the late spring and summer thunderstorm season, when people tend to be outside. Annually, about 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur in the United States. From 1971 to 2000, lightning killed an average of 73 people each year in the United States and injured hundreds more.

The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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