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6/26/2014 - NWS: 'When thunder roars, go indoors'

The National Weather Service is reminding everyone about storm safety during Lightning Awareness Week.

Nothing lights up the night's sky quite like a lightning storm. And, from a safe distance, these luminary displays can be just as entertaining as anything you'd see on television or in the theater. But that's just about where the fun stops, as these weather events can be a destructive force of nature.

This is National Lightning Awareness Week, an annual seven-day event that focuses on the effects of these storms that cause approximately $1 billion in property insurance losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, in 2012, insurers paid out approximately 151,000 claims to individuals and homeowners impacted by these intense forms of energy.

"The average cost per claim continues to rise, in part because of the huge increase in the number and value of consumer electronics in homes," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

Not only can property be badly damaged during a lightning storm, but fatalities can result as well. To date in 2014, four people have died after being struck, in Florida, Texas and New Mexico, according to the National Weather Service.

John Jensensius, lightning safety specialist for the National Weather Service, noted that even a distant rumble of thunder is reason enough to seek out shelter.

"Here at the National Weather Service, we want you to enjoy outdoor activities this summer, but we also want you to be safe," said Jensensius.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains a website that contains a wide variety of tips and safety recommendations about what to do when there's a lightning storm approaching, perhaps none more important than the following: "When thunder roars, go indoors."

For information about Selective's home insurance coverages, talk to a local Selective agent.

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