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VIDEO: Learning About The Dangers of Lightning

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Summer storms can bring hazardous weather conditions on a frequent basis.

The National Weather service along with the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has set June 23-29 as Lightning Safety Awareness Week.  It's purpose is to remind Ohioans of the dangers of lighting.

Dr. Ryan Fogt, an Assistant Professor of Meteorology at Ohio University, said that Ohio ranks among the top five states in the United States for lightning-related fatalities.

"It kills people," Fogt said. "People don't realize it's as dangerous as they think it is."

The National Weather Service reported 28 deaths from lightning strikes in 2012.  Athens County Emergency Management Agency Director Fred Davis attributes accidents like these to a lack of awareness.

"Until directly you have a lightning strike close to you, you tend to ignore it a lot," Davis said. "Many times it's almost a silent killer."

Davis said that when you don't take severe weather seriously, you aren't just putting yourself in danger.

"It's the folks that have to come and rescue you," Davis added.

Kyle Clem, a graduate student at OU, said that people are drawn to severe weather. Clem said that just because a severe weather alert hasn't been issued, doesn't mean it's safe.

"The National Weather Service won't issue a warning if there's not any severe wind, hail or tornadoes," Clem said.  Clem believes that people are drawn to severe weather for the same reason they are drawn to action movies: the thrill.

Fogt, Clem and Davis all say that the best way to be safe from severe weather is to prepare and be aware.

Davis said people can sign up for mobile alerts by visiting the Athens Count EMA's website and clicking "Alert Athens County" on the homepage.