After both Lake and Mendocino Counties recently experienced a massive heat wave which reached at least 113 degrees, the areas also experienced sudden lightning and thunder storms, as well as massive amounts of rain. Areas in Willits have experienced small fires, and everyone is urged to keep in mind safety precautions. According to FEMA, deaths due to lightning have significantly decreased over the past several decades due to education and safety precautions. Lightning can potentially start wildfires, so the removal of dead trees, dry brush, and/or branches that can fall and cause a lot of damage, should be completed before a storm appears. Staying indoors, or inside a hard-topped card, can increase your chances of remaining safe. Lightning is very unpredictable, and most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.

Here are some tips if you find yourself outdoors during a lightning storm:

In a forest: seek shelter in a low area underneath a thick grow of small trees

Low area: seek shelter near a ravine or valley, and be aware of flash floods.

On open water: get to land and seek shelter immediately.

If you feel your hair start to stand up (an indication that lightning is about to strike), follow this procedure: Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

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