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Youth Baseball Games and Thunderstorms

Updated on May 29, 2008

Your child has a youth baseball this afternoon and the weatherman is predicting thunder storms at about the same time. So you go to the game and hope the prediction is incorrect.

Well, you get to the game and the skies are sunny. But after a few innings the wind kicks up and those bid black clouds appear on the horizon. What do you do? Do you ask to stop the game?

If you don't hear thunder or see lightning, and there is no rain, you could continue to play but pay very close attention to the weather conditions. Once you see lightning the youth baseball players should be pulled off the field and everyone should seek shelter.

How do you know how far away the lightning is?

When are you at risk in a thunderstorm? Sound travels roughly at 1 miles every 5 seconds. When you see the flash of a lightning bolt you can start counting the seconds until you hear thunder then divide that number by 5 to get the distance in miles. So if it takes 10 seconds for you to hear the thunder, the lightning strike is approximately 2 miles away. Thunder storms can be dangerous from up to 10 miles away.

Where should you seek shelter?

The best alternative is to get inside a house quickly. If that is not possible the next best place is inside a car, van, etc. with the windows rolled up.

It's not a good idea to stay in the dugout because it is usually surrounded by a metal fence and/or gate. Never seek shelter under a tree and avoid areas near flag poles, fences, gates, machinery, picnic shelters and bleachers. Stay away from metal altogether.

As a last resort, and only as last resort, go to an open place and get as low as you can by crouching down. Put your feet together with your chin tucked into your chest with your hands on your knees - you want to make yourself as small a target as possible.

Don't take risks!

It's better being safe than sorry. The youth baseball game can always be replayed but you can't undo the results of a lightning strike.

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