« Western Michigan Weather News

Ag. Weather Outlook 4-02-2014

by Tim Abramowski

Feel unlucky? Numbers-crunchers say theres a one in a million chance youll be hit by lightning this year. Thats a national average derived from the number of injuries and the total population. But wait based on 2011 injuries and deaths the odds in Michigan of getting hit becomes one in 519,799. Granted, thats one year but it may be enough to give you pause. And once youve paused, what can you do about it? Scientists at the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville are combining data from weather satellites with Doppler radar and numerical models in a system they hope will warn which pop up storm clouds are likely to produce lightning and when its likely to begin and end. The new lightning nowcasting project will use information developed at several locations and when combined with other available and soon-to-be available technology could increase warning time 30 to 45 minutes before the first flash. Still feel unlucky, lightning-wise? Odds makers give you a one in 3,000 chance of being struck in a lifetime. To temper that somewhat, someones had the time to calculate your chance of being injured by a toilet this year thats one in 10,000.

Rick Shields