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Lightning Strikes – and causes fire damage in Vermont each year

Vermont has seen an unprecedented amount of stormy weather this spring and summer: first the flooding in April and May, now the summer sky is busy with widespread thunderstorm activity. Some of these storms contain damaging winds and lightning.

Recent satellite data collected by Colorado’s University Corporation for Atmospheric Research suggests that there are more than 3 million lightning flashes worldwide per day. This is more than 30 flashes per second on average. Cloud-to-Ground strikes are often the most spectacular of these strikes.

Here’s how it works: the flash brings a negative charge on its descent. As it approaches the ground, it draws surges of positive charges from sharp objects and irregularities on the ground. The lightning’s “return stroke” creates the visible flash and shock wave (thunder) as it heats the surrounding air to 54,000 degrees.

A dental building in Stowe and the community hall at Essex Junction’s Holy Family Church were two recent “irregularities on the ground”. Vermont is certainly not lightning-prone, Florida and the Rocky Mountains hold that distinction, but our state is susceptible.

The biggest lightning months are June, July and August. According to the US Fire Administration, lightning causes more than 17,000 fires each year. Granted, most of these fires are not in Vermont!

Puro Clean does help homeowners across Vermont recover from fire damage, but we would much rather help them prevent it. Here are a few lightning tips to keep in mind:

Preventing a lightning strike when you are outdoors
Lightning FAQs from the National Weather Service
Lightning Safety Guide (download)

image credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotreactor/