It's Weather Wednesday!

Posted at: 05/01/2013 7:51 PM | Updated at: 05/01/2013 7:55 PM

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It's our first Weather Wednesday and that means we're taking a closer look at how our weather team keeps you safe and ahead of any storms in our area.

For the next few weeks, every Wednesday Kevin Williams is going to take you inside the News10NBC's weather department during ROC City Tonight to show you exactly how we forecast the weather that affects you.

This Wednesday night we're talking about one of the most dangerous weather situations you can find yourself in, lightning.

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin  proved that lightning is electricity by his famous kite experiment and today we are still learning about this force of nature.

Every second the earth is struck by lightning 100 times.

Each year, 60 million thunderstorms form on the planet, about three dozen of those will strike Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

In our area, thunderstorms can cause floods, hail and even tornadoes. But lightning is the most common killer among severe weather elements we face in the warmer months.

Lightning results from a separation of positively and negatively charged particles within a cloud and between the cloud and the ground. Eventually, when that charge becomes great enough, a lightning stroke occurs.

Just to clarify, lightning strikes an object. The actual bolt is a lightning stroke.

Here's something else you may not know. Lightning actually starts from the ground with a flow of charged particles drawn toward the cloud.

That's right, the lightning we see flows from the ground and from the cloud and meets in the air. That bolt travels at about 60 thousand miles per hour. Thunder is the sound the air makes when it is super heated to 50,000 degrees by lightning only to quickly cool.

Every year about 400 Americans are struck by lightning and about 100 will die.

Some people have felt a static buildup right before a lightning strike. That is a sure sign of danger.

For example, one woman grinned for a photo at California's Sequoia National Park. Moments later, lightning struck. The woman survived, but one person nearby didn't.

Indeed, lightning is a killer.

Here are some lightning safety tips to help you be safe during a thunderstorm.

First, make sure you tune to News10NBC for the information you need when a storm is brewing.  As mentioned, our lightning tracker is a powerful tool to track when and where lightning is, to keep you safe.

Second, never talk on a chorded phone. Lightning can travel through wiring and plumbing.

Third, never seek shelter under a tree and avoid high spots and open areas. Also, consider using lightning rods at your house. They direct the electrical current into the ground.

Farmers, boaters and golfers need to be especially careful. Golfers often find themselves in open areas holding a golf club, like a 3-iron.

Finally, if you're in a thunderstorm, get inside a building or a car. Cars are especially safe, not because of their rubber tires, a common myth, but because the metal skin will carry the bolt harmlessly into the ground.

By the way, lightning does strike the same place twice. The Empire State Building is struck 30 times each year.

As part of Weather Wednesday, Kevin is going to answer your weather questions each week.

This Wednesday's question comes from Joy Eggleston. She asks, why was it still snowing well into April?

To here Kevin's answer to the question, click play on the video player above.

If you have a weather question for us just email us at

Have a story you want our news team to investigate? Call us at 585-232-1010, click here to send us an e-mail or leave us a Facebook post or tweet.



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