Cuba and the thunderstorm season
By Mercy Ramos Photos: José (Tito) Meriño
The arrival of summer in Cuba is equivalent to intense rains and electrical storms, practically on a daily basis, so it is important to know how these meteorological events develop, as they can cause death and destruction.
These atmospheric phenomena mainly occur between July and September, although they can already occur in June. Cuba is considered one of the countries in the world most affected by lightning, due to the great electrical activity characterizing storms in the national territory.
Manuel Antonio Iturralde, president of the Cuban Society of Geology, has explained electrical discharges are associated with severe local storms, when, they accompany intense rains, hail, tornadoes, waterspouts and destructive gusts of wind occur.
According to statistics from the Institute of Geophysics and Astronomy (IGA), 65 Cubans die every year due to the impact of lightning. It is for this reason that it is considered the leading cause of death in the country, due to natural phenomena.
In addition to this, electric shocks in urban areas can end the useful life of television sets and electrical equipment, hence the need to preserve them. To take care of human life, the IGA recommends several measures, among which when you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear the thunder.
If 30 seconds or less pass, go immediately to a safer place. After hearing the last thunder, it is important to wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter, as many deaths from lightning occur after the storm passes. It is recommended not to work or practice sports activities outdoors, and recommends to stay away from open spaces in the presence of an electrical storm, as well as swimming pools, showers, lakes, rivers, beaches and boats.
It is also recommended to seek shelter in closed structures or in a car. In the latter case, do not touch the metal parts and keep the windows closed. Don’t go near doors, windows or metal objects, pipes or taps, neither talk on cellphones, while the storm is active.
If the appropriate measures are adopted in time, it will be possible to reduce the number of deaths that occur each year in Cuba as a result of these phenomena. So be attentive to the measures and apply the saying that says: "he who does not listen to advice does not grow old”.