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Experts Stress Indoor Lightning Safety

Severe thunderstorms this morning kept many indoors as wind, rain, and lightning moved through the area. The storms took a toll on utilities as 2,500 homes and businesses in Springfield lost power. City Utilities officials say as of midday 600 customers were still without power. The storms produced a lot of lightning. As KSMU's Benjamin Fry reports, seeking shelter may not be enough to keep you from getting zapped.

Most everyone knows to avoid tall trees or going out on the lake when lightning is near.

As with most severe weather, heading inside is your best bet to avoid getting struck.

But you still need to take precautions once indoors to stay safe.

Kenneth Larson is the Director of the Burn Intensive Care Unit at St. Johns Hospital in Springfield.

Whether indoors or outdoors, he says volt and amperage of an electrical current determines the degree of injury.

Megan Terry with the National Weather Service in Springfield says to avoid activities during lightning storms that put you in direct contact with water and telephone lines.

Terry also recommends not using a plugged-in computer, even if it's connected to a surge protector.

Terry says indoor shocks do have the potential to be fatal, but that it's always safer to be inside than out.

Lighting also poses another danger for those indoors.

Over the last year, she says there have been several reports of lightning-related house fires.

And for those anxious to resume outdoor activities after a storm, The National Weather Service says to wait a half hour after the last lightning strike to go out.

For KSMU news, I'm Benjamin Fry.