Lightning strikes on the hillside behind the Sylvan Lake Community Centre.

Lightning season puts zap on region

With peak lightning season in Central Alberta only about two weeks away, Environment Canada is reminding everyone to head indoors when thunder roars.

With peak lightning season in Central Alberta only about two weeks away, Environment Canada is reminding everyone to head indoors when thunder roars.

July is the month that most lightning occurs and the last two weeks of June is second highest.

Red Deer saw a total of 22,098 lightning strikes (within 25 km) from 1999 to 2013. That compares with Edmonton, which had 32,894, and Calgary at 22,121. Victoria, B.C., had a mere 843 strikes in the same period, according to Environment Canada, noting also that this week is Lightning Safety Week.

Meteorologist Kirk Torneby said Tuesday that one of the busiest areas in Canada for lightning is Alberta’s foothills, where on average there are about 300,000 strikes per year.

The big driver of thunderstorms in Alberta is the uneven heating of the terrain to the west, which also leads to moisture changes. A little moist air at low levels is usually one of the main trigger points, Torneby said.

Crops are another bigger contributing factor as during the day they add moisture to the air through evapotranspiration, Torneby said.

Thunderstorms are starting to pop up again, he said, adding that there is some potential this week for scattered ones in the area. Environment Canada’s Lightning Danger Map was showing activity late Tuesday afternoon northwest of Red Deer.

“Any electrified storm has that potential to cause safety issues for people,” said Torneby.

^

Research show that two-thirds of lightning strikes actually occur when the storm is not directly overhead but rather when lightning is just approaching or passing by.

On average, 10 people are killed each year in Canada and 100 to 150 are injured and not necessarily by a direct flash. Often it’s from ground current that strikes near someone and travels through the ground, or it’s a secondary leader flash with the main lightning strike far away.

Torneby said the Canadian Lightning Detection network of remote sensing devices in towers tracks whether lightning hits the ground or travels between the clouds.

The safest place to be when there is lightning is indoors, but if you are outdoors and cannot get indoors, find a low-lying area and avoid tall objects such as trees or get inside an all-metal car, he said.

The most frequent time of day for lightning is between 1 and 6 p.m. Lightning season in Alberta usually ends around Sept 15.

The Canadian Lightning Danger Map and more information about lightning can be found online at weather.gc.ca/lightning

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Women use scent to lure wolf-dog that ran away from Calgary airport

EDMONTON — A woman from Alberta is thanking an unconventional strategy for… Continue reading

Suspect in Alberta, Saskatchewan bank robberies to get mental assessment

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism instructor accused… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Most Read