QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Lightning Safety Awareness Week
Why is NOAA and the PGA TOUR conducting a lightning safety
Lightning is an underrated killer -- it can strike even
10 miles from a storm. NOAA wants the American public to know
that -- and to know what to do about it. And we can all learn
something from the pros. The PGA Tour, for example, postpones
play whenever lightning is in the area. This protects both
players and fans.
How great a threat is lightning in the U.S.?
Each year, in the United States, there are 25 million cloud-to-ground
Anyone who is outside right before a thunderstorm develops,
or even just after it's over, can be a target.
The statistics are tragic. Over the past 30 years, lightning
has killed an average of 73 people each year. That's more
than the annual number of fatalities caused by tornadoes or
hurricanes. Just last year, lightning killed 51 people. NOAA's
National Weather Service issues forecasts for thunderstorms
days in advance. But public attention, to both these forecasts
and what to do about them, are key.
What is your message to America?
Our message is clear: When a thunderstorm threatens, go indoors
immediately.Take a lesson from the PGA -- and postpone any
outdoor event. Your life, and the lives of those you love,
may depend on it.
We are kicking off our first-ever Nationwide and are unveiling some exciting new public service messages.
NOAA's National Weather Service has a huge stake in lightning
safety across America.
Let me first introduce our partners in lightning safety.
We have with us today, Ana Laird with the PGA TOUR. We probably
would not be having today's event if it weren't for the PGA
TOUR staff and their commitment to public safety.
We have an internationally renowned expert on lightning injuries,
Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, and Mr. Michael Utley, a lightning strike
survivor, who is kind enough to share his experience and reinforce
the safety message.
And, finally, I am proud to introduce a fellow golfer, although
we are not quite in the same league, the PGA TOUR'S Rocco
Mediate, who is our star in the public service material we
will be unveiling shortly.
Lightning strikes the earth some 25 million times each year.
During the past 30 years in the United States, lightning killed
an average of 73 people per year. This is more than the average
of 68 deaths per year caused by tornadoes and the average
of 16 deaths per year caused by hurricanes.
The vast majority of lightning casualties can be prevented
through public education. This is why we have teamed up with
the PGA TOUR and professional golfer Rocco Mediate to focus
public attention on lightning safety.
All thunderstorms can produce lightning, so it's up to all
of us to heed the warnings. NOAA's National Weather Service
issues forecasts for thunderstorms days in advance, and severe
weather warnings for specific locations. The PGA TOUR takes
that a step further with an on-site meteorologist from The
Weather Channel who pinpoints weather conditions directly
over tournaments--saving lives.
Lightning is indeed an underrated killer. Because it usually
claims only one or two victims at a time, and because it does
not cause the mass destruction we see in the wake of tornadoes
or hurricanes, lightning generally receives less attention
than the more destructive weather-related killers.
But let's not overlook lightning's tragic statistics. 70-plus
deaths a year is far too many - and many lightning casualties
occur on the golf course and other outdoor sports activities.
That's why we are here at the spectacular Westchester Country
Club during the Buick Classic with the PGA TOUR and Rocco
Mediate-we want as many golfers- all AmericansBto hear our
potentially life-saving safety message.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and we have
even better than that. So let's roll the video tape and show
off our Lightning Awareness video starring Rocco Mediate...
And now, the poster...
INTRO ANA LEAIRD
The PGA TOUR and their outstanding communications staff helped
make this possible today. Before I turn it over to Ana Leaird,
Director of public relations for the PGA TOUR, I want to take
a moment to congratulate the TOUR on their ongoing partnership
with The Weather Channel, which provides lightning safety
measures at each PGA TOUR event. The TOUR is a great example
of a sports organization that strives to ensure the safety
of its fans and athletes- Ana...
GUIDES INTROS ROCCO MEDIATE
What more can I say about Rocco Mediate? He has taken time
out from his busy schedule, not only to film the public service
announcement, but to be here, during an important tournament,
to get a life-saving message across to the public. On behalf
of NOAA and the National Weather Service, and the nation's
golfers and other outdoor enthusiasts, I thank you. Rocco
INTRO DR. MARY ANN COOPER
Now for a person who has devoted her career toward assisting
lightning victims and better understanding this tragic phenomena,
Dr. Mary Ann Cooper...
INTRO MICHAEL UTLEY
We also have with us a man who experienced the devastation
of a lightning strike, and lived to tell the tale. The more
people who hear Michael Utley's story, the more they will
be aware of the lightning danger and the safer they will be.
Today we have painted a vivid portrait of a dangerous natural
phenomenon and we have produced the tools and the experts
to get our message across to America. We will be distributing
Rocco's PSA nationwide, along with the posters, and our specialists
in NOAA public affairs, along with the staff at the PGA TOUR
will make sure the media gets our message so they can relay
it to the people. Lightning Awareness Week is from June 20-26, 2010. Thank you everybody for being here. Are there any questions?