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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

When is Lightning a Danger?

When is Lightning a Danger?

Thunder and lightning are very dangerous. According to the National Weather Service “if you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and you should seek shelter immediately.”

Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from the rain area in a thunderstorm. The first stroke of lightning is just as deadly as the last. If they sky looks threatening, you should take shelter even if you don’t hear thunder.

Another tip from the National Weather Service is to use a “30-30 rule” where visibility is good and there is nothing obstructing your view of thunderstorms. When you see the lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within 6 miles of you and is dangerous. It is also recommended that you wait at least 30 minutes after a thunderstorm before returning to the outdoors, as the threat of lightning can continue long after a storm subsides.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.