Maine Guide Tip

Every week I'll offer some wood wisdom gleaned from Registered Maine Guides I've known.

The 30/30 Rule

I'm fascinated with lightning for certain personal reasons. On average 58 Americans die a year from being struck, and I think many of those deaths could be prevented if we were better at educating people about the real danger lightning poses and how to act during a thunderstorm. For instance, here's a practical tip: You can gauge your distance from an approaching electrical storm by calculating the interval between a lightning flash and the following thunder. Count the number of seconds between "flash and bang," and then divide by 5. (Sound travels at a rate of roughly one-fifth of a mile per second.) So if you hear thunder 30 seconds after seeing a flash you are within 6 miles of the strike — and that's a very dangerous place to be. Get indoors immediately.

The other part of the 30/30 rule is that you should wait 30 minutes after you last heard thunder before you continue your round of golf or venture back out on the lake.

The National Weather Service has some useful and interesting information about lightning here.