Weatherman: Be careful when outdoors ‘Lightning can strike anytime’
15 March 2017
PETALING JAYA: Check weather conditions before embarking on outdoor activities because lightning can strike anytime throughout the year, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) advises.
Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors, added the department.
Thunderstorms are most likely to happen during inter-monsoon seasons, between April and May, and October to November.
Over land, thunderstorms usually develop in the afternoon and evening. Over sea, they usually strike at night, MetMalaysia said on its website.
Malaysia has one of the highest number of lightning strikes in the world.
It gets more than one million strikes a year, said Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Centre for Electromagnetic and Lightning Protection Research (CELP) director Prof Dr Mohd Zainal Abidin Ab Kadir.
“The first principle is to take precaution by looking at the weather forecast before going for outdoor activities. And in the park, when the thunder roars, people should go indoors.
“If you see a flash, you can estimate how far the lightning is based on the time lapse between the flash and the sound of thunder and divide it by three.
“This will give a rough estimation of the distance of the lightning in kilometres,” said Dr Mohd Zainal Abidin who is also UPM’s Faculty of Engineering deputy dean (research and innovation).
He said data from the CELP showed that lightning killed 112 people and injured 156 people in Malaysia from 2008 up to Tuesday.
On Sunday, a couple, believed to have been struck by lightning, were found dead in a park at Jalan Kenari 10, Bandar Puchong Jaya.
The man identified as Yee Boon Koo, 59, and the woman Ooi Lee Chen, 57, were found lying on the ground, with the man bleeding from the head.