Hurricanes & Storms


Hurricanes have seriously impacted virtually all areas of the state of Florida at some time or another and most likely will again. It is only a matter of time it will hit Lee County again. This fact combined with the low experience levels of our citizens makes the need for individual hurricane preparedness and education critical. What we lack in experience, we must make up for in knowledge, preparation and adherence to the advice of our emergency management team. They will tell you how to prepare and what actions to take in this manual. It is up to you to have an individual plan to take the precautions necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones.

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Thunderstorms and Lightning Information...

In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year. While lightning can be fascinating to watch, it is also extremely dangerous. During the past 30 years, lightning killed an average of 73 people per year in the United States based on documented cases. This is more than the average of 68 deaths per year caused by tornadoes and the average of 16 deaths per year caused by hurricanes. However, because lightning usually claims only one or two victims at a time, and because lightning does not cause the mass destruction left in the wake of tornadoes or hurricanes, lightning generally receives much less attention than the more destructive weather-related killers. While documented lightning injuries in the United States average about 300 per year, undocumented injuries caused by lightning are likely much higher.

Lightning Safety Awareness: An Educational Problem

Few people really understand the dangers of lightning. Many people don't act to protect their lives, property and the lives of others promptly because they don't understand all the dangers associated with thunderstorms and lightning. The first step in solving this problem is to educate people so that they become aware of the behavior that puts them at risk of being struck by lightning, and to let them know what they can do to reduce that risk. Coaches and other adults who make decisions affecting the safety of children must understand the dangers of lightning.

Beware of a Developing Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on warm summer days and go through various stages of growth, development and dissipation. On a sunny day, as the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise in the atmosphere. When this air reaches a certain level in the atmosphere, cumulus clouds start to form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically upward in the atmosphere into "towering cumulus" clouds. These towering cumulus may be one of the first indications of a developing thunderstorm.