MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – With summer activities in full-swing, it is important to know how to keep loved ones safe when lightning strikes, whether they are on the beach or outside somewhere else. Pop-up storms are common this time of year, but they can also be dangerous.
“People like seeing the lightning over the ocean,” said Frank Smith, with North Myrtle Beach Police. “And you get the different kind of lightning strikes. And they just don't realize how dangerous and deadly it can be.”
If you’re spending time outside, the best bet is to make sure there is an "exit" plan in place, as well as a way to monitor the weather. Safety officials say a popular rule of thumb to follow is to remember "if you hear thunder roar, go indoors".
The safest place to be if there is a threat of lightning is indoors. In addition to the sound of thunder, consider taking shelter if lightning is seen, or even if dark clouds are developing overhead. Safety experts say to stay inside until 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder was heard.
“People get struck by lightning unfortunately,” said Randall Webster, with Horry County Emergency Management. “Most of the time it's because they haven't heeded the warning of the thunder and it's time to get indoors, that's the best place to be.”
This is a concern for public safety officials because every year, millions of visitors come to the shores of the Grand Strand to vacation, and the most popular attractions are outdoors. Especially next week - since the Fourth of July Holiday weekend is the deadliest time of the year for lightning strikes.