Lightning awareness is particularly important for outdoor seasonal workers. Lightning is an occupational hazard, and those who work outdoors are vulnerable to lightning strikes. Many thunderstorms develop and occur between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. By scheduling outdoor activities in the morning or later in the evening, most lightning hazards can be avoided. This safety measure applies to people working in parks, on golf courses, on roadways, in construction, on farms, or in the forest industry, as examples.
The Canadian Lightning Danger Map is one way to track thunderstorms. The Map displays high-risk lightning areas in red, with animation showing the movement of the storms. These maps are updated every 10 minutes, and they are based on recent lightning observations. Dark clouds and increasing wind speeds indicate an approaching storm. When you hear thunder, lightning is within striking distance, and it is time to seek shelter immediately, in an enclosed building or hard-topped vehicle. In the vast majority of cases, you will see lightning or hear thunder in advance, giving you time to get to a safe location. Keep in mind that the sound of thunder can be blocked by mountainous terrain and large buildings or masked by environmental noise, such as airplanes, traffic, and lawnmowers. Lastly, remember to wait for a full 30 minutes after the last roll of thunder before going back outside.
As we head into Lightning Safety Week, we invite you to contact your local warning preparedness meteorologist to find out more on lightning in Canada and to get informed on how Canadians can better prepare in the event of lightning threats.
Remember: When thunder roars, go indoors!
Canadian Lightning Danger Map
Lightning in Canada website