St. Albert tops for lightning strikes in 2013
City number one on FortisAlberta list
Saturday, Jul 19, 2014 06:00 am
Feel electric this morning? That might be because St. Albert was at the top of the charts for lightning strikes last year, reports the city’s power line manager.
FortisAlberta, the company that manages power lines in St. Albert, announced this week that St. Albert had the highest number of lightning strikes per square kilometre in its service area last year.
Alberta’s lightning detection network (which tracks strikes based on radio signals) spotted some 1,775 thunderbolts in St. Albert during 2013, says FortisAlberta spokesperson Natasha Russell. That works out to about 2.9 strikes per square kilometre and puts the city at the top of the company’s top 10 list.
Spruce Grove and Sherwood Park trailed behind at 2.198 and 2.150 strikes per square kilometre, Russell said. Drayton Valley had the highest raw number of strikes in the top 10 with about 12,062 bolts.
St. Albert’s lightning-prone nature is likely due to its location, provincial fire weather meteorologist Paul Kruger told the Gazette in 2012. Alberta’s foothills produce unstable air, creating thunderstorms that then blow northeast to the St. Albert, Edmonton and High River region.
While the odds of getting struck by lighting are pretty low, Russell says residents should still take caution during thunderstorms.
Avoid using (and unplug) electrical appliances during a storm, and stay indoors if possible. If you are outdoors, avoid trees, poles and high hills.
Russell notes that cellphones are actually the safest means of communication during a thunderstorm as they don’t have a conductive cord.
Visit www.fortisalberta.com for other safety tips.