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Lightning hazards are real in summer months, experts warn

Lightning safety and awareness is important as people head out to the lakes this summer. One man from Noble has felt the shock six times.
by Robert Medley Modified: July 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm •  Published: July 1, 2013

When it comes to outdoors hazards, the risk of being struck by lightning is usually low.

But Carl Mize has been hit by lightning six times and survived.

Mize, 53, of Noble, never has taken a direct hit from a bolt, but he has been zapped by volts from nearby strikes. He has been knocked unconscious and felt severe soreness in his muscles while recovering. But he has no permanent injuries he knows of.

“Never think that a storm is too far away,” Mize said. “Every time I've been hit the storms have seemed far away, but lightning can travel.”

July is the month when the most lightning strikes are reported.

Rick Smith, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norman, said lightning is a natural phenomenon that may be “low probability for people but a high-impact event.”

“A lot of people think it's not going to happen to me,” Smith said.

Fishing is the activity that can put a person at the greatest risk for a lightning strike. Lightning can strike the water, a boat, a tree or a pole nearby and send a sideways shock to those nearby.

The most basic advice is to go indoors during a thunderstorm.

“If you hear thunder or see lightning, get inside,” Smith said. “That's the absolute way not to get struck by lightning.”

So far this year, seven deaths from lightning strikes have been reported nationwide. Two people died in Florida, two in Illinois, and one each in Louisiana, Missouri and Texas. Most victims were near or on water.

In Oklahoma, one lightning death was reported in 2005, two in 2003 and one in 2002.

‘I'm more conductive'

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by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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