NEWS

Harrow, Ont., lightning capital of Canada

06/12/2013 03:02 EDT | Updated 08/12/2013 05:12 EDT
Windsor, Ont., has lost its undisputed title of Lightning Capital of Canada.

The tiny town of Harrow now has the highest number of days of lightning strikes in the country, based on a 10-year average. Lightning strikes there 35.9 days a year.

Windsor, though, still holds the record for most days of lightning in one year at 47. It also has Canada's highest lightning density of 2.8 flashes per kilometre.

Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell calls Harrow "close enough" to Windsor to lump the two together as a single region that leads the country in lightning strikes.

The stats come during Lightning Awareness Week.

On average, 10 people are killed by lightning strikes each year in Canada. Between 100 and 160 more are injured, according to Environment Canada.

"It's not a trivial threat but it's something that can be minimized fairly easily by taking simple precautions," Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell said. "If thunder roars, go indoors."

That doesn't include dugouts and picnic pavilions. Kimbell said people should seek shelter with an electricity supply or plumbing, because the building would then be grounded and conduct electricity into the ground.

Environment Canada has also update its Canadian Lightning Danger Map. The map displays red dots which represent areas at greatest risk of being struck by lightning in the next 10 minutes. It's accurate within 200 metres.

"If you’re in the red zone you’re at risk for being struck by lightning," Kimbell said. "

Kimbell said people in those areas should head indoors and remain there for the duration of the storm and 30 additional minutes after it passes.

He said one third of those killed by lightning strikes are struck after the storm has seemingly moved through.

"If you can hear the thunder, basically you’re within the 10 km zone in which lightning can strike you," Kimbell said. Kimbell said it's not always safe immediately after rain.

"Lightning can strike 10 km ahead or behind the storm," he said. "Stay inside for 30 minutes after thunder."

MORE:cbcNews