Lightning Is a Threat Even If It is Not Raining

I had an interesting experience yesterday afternoon involving lightning and a construction crew.
I was walking into a physician's office when a deafening roar of thunder occurred even though it was sunny (my location was at the star, above). The culprit was a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt that hit the ground ~4 miles to my southwest (circled). It doesn't have to be raining for lightning to strike!

While I was under cover, there was a construction crew working in the road in front of the building with metal pipes in their hands. They also had a trailer or cart with numerous other pipes on it. The three men were not using a tool at the time and so there should have been no reason they could not hear the thunder.

When the thunder sounded, they did not bat an eye. They kept working. I paused a moment to see if they altered their routine but the answer, while was watching, was "no."

The storm that spawned the lightning was moving due north so the relative lightning danger was increasing. NOAA has a graph that illustrates the issue.
Lightning deaths and injuries peak when the storm is approaching but the rain has not yet begun ("thunderstorm overhead"). This was exactly the risk the construction workers were running by staying exposed during an approaching thunderstorm. For a video example of lightning striking well away from the rain click here.

When thunder roars, go indoors. Or, at least, get into your car or truck which gives adequate protection. 


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