Lightning poses a serious threat during the Little League® regular and tournament seasons. In the United States, lightning activity picks up during the spring and peaks during the summer. Having a plan and knowing what to do when lightning approaches is important for player and fan safety.
This starts with being “weather aware” by staying on top of the latest forecast from a trusted, local meteorologist. A quiet summer day can turn stormy very quickly, so it’s important to be ready for quickly changing weather. It’s helpful to use a smartphone app at the field to monitor rain and thunderstorms approaching your area.
Lightning can strike long before it starts raining! In fact, many lightning strike victims are hit before rain begins. Lightning can strike over 10 miles away from a thunderstorm, so action needs to be taken before the wet weather arrives.
If you hear thunder or observe threatening skies, immediate action is required! It is not safe to be outside when lightning is in your area. Dugouts and pavilions do not provide safe cover during thunderstorms, and never seek shelter under a picnic shelter, under bleachers, or in a shed.
When lightning threatens, seek safety in a sturdy building that has plumbing and electricity. If this isn’t an option, seek shelter in a hard-topped vehicle with the windows up. While in the vehicle, don’t touch anything metal, or any electronics.
It is safe to head back to the field 30 minutes after the thunder and lightning come to an end.
Submitted by Meteorologist Garett Argianas, who is a forecaster and broadcaster, and serves as a weather expert witness in legal matters. He is the founder of Weather Consulting Services (www.weathercs.com). Mr. Argianas is a long-time scorekeeper and announcer at the Little League® Eastern Regional Baseball and Softball Tournaments in Bristol, Conn., and serves as a public address announcer at the Little League Baseball® World Series in Williamsport, Pa.