Lightning claims 4 lives in less than one week

* People warned to be cautious

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Meteorological Department yesterday warned of continuing a lightning threat and advised the general public to adopt precautionary measures to minimize the lightning related hazards.

In less than a week four people have been killed by lightning across the country.

Meteorologist-in-charge Chaminda Silva told The Island that the lightning threat would prevail until end of November. What was being experienced was the inter monsoon season and thundershowers would continue until end of this month.

He said that showers and thundershowers with lightning strikes would occur after 2.00 pm in most parts of the country. People should remain indoors during lightning and avoid being inside houses with metal roofs as far as possible.

Lighting expert Dr. Chandima Gomes said that there were two lightning threat periods in a year. October and November was the second period while March and April was the first.

Dr. Gomes said people should remain indoors during lightning and had to avoid houses with tin roofing as far as possible. He said the people must avoid: sleeping on the floor, keeping feet on the floor while being seated, using a land phones (mobile phones are safe), standing or sitting under or near tall trees and objects that might attract lightning, bathing in the rain and keeping electrical equipment plugged on. Should one happen to be in an open place during lightning, one had to squat with legs kept together.

If it was essential to keep electrical goods connected, he said, surge protectors had to be installed. Those travelling in buses, trains and other vehicles need not worry about lightning, Dr. Gomes said.

"In Sri Lanka, every year, lightning kills over 70 people," he said.

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