Lightning strikes may not be the biggest threat in Canada, but they're still dangerous occurrences that are even deadly in some cases.
In fact, Environment Canada reports that nine to 10 Canadians die from lightning strikes every year, with the most tragedies occurring during the months of June, July and August. Such statistics have prompted the federal government to hold annual Lightning Safety Week events, to raise awareness on how to deal with lightning storms.
In Canada, some places are more prone to lightning strikes than others, due to their geography and climate conditions. According to The Weather Network, southern Ontario and the southern Prairies are "the stormiest regions of the country," with Windsor, Ont. being the most active location. It sees as many as 33 storm days a year, which is much higher number compared to other Canadian spots like Nanaimo, B.C. (which only sees 2.33 storm days a year).
For Toronto, which is also in southern Ontario, a high frequency of lightning strikes are concentrated on the CN Tower. The iconic building has also been called "Canada's most famous lightning rod," with as many as 80 lightning strikes hitting its tip per year.
With lightning storm season just around the corner, it's important to take the necessary precautions. Environment Canada recently updated its lightning safety overview and reminds that if you are outside and can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning.
"Take shelter immediately, preferably in a a house or all-metal automobile (not convertible top)," reads the overview. "If caught outside far from a safe shelter, stay away from tall objects, such as trees, poles, wires and fences. Take shelter in a low lying area."
It's also recommended that you stay in a safe location for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard.
Additional precautions listed on the website include the following:
- Avoid high ground and being the highest point in an open area
- Keep away from water and moisture
- Stay away from metals and materials that conduct electricity
- Your car is safe to stay in, as long as you don't park near objects that could topple over
- Find shelter beneath thick, small trees or bushes in a towering forest
- Be wary of flash floods
For the full lightning safety overview, click here.