Lightning strikes happen during the summer months more than any other time of the year, how to stay safe

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - The weekend is nearly here and many will be enjoying the outdoors.

It's a good time to remember lightning strikes happen during the summer months more than any other time of the year.

Siesta key Beach lifeguard Captain Roy Routh tells us between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Central to South Florida gets about 90 to 100 major thunderstorms accompanied by lightening yearly.

Most of those storms happen right around this time of year.

So far this summer one person on the Suncoast was fatally struck by lightening near Siesta Key Beach.

That lightning strike hit a pair of keys hanging on a young man's belt loop,  killing him and leaving his family in total shock.

In an effort to making sure you stay safe this summer while enjoying the outdoors Routh says not to wait until the last minute to seek shelter.

He also says if you're out for a fun day at a park or a beach you need to pack light so you can make your exit quickly.

Routh says he and other lifeguards are always keeping a close eye on the weather, they do so with a special device called a Skyscan.

That device monitors how far or how close lightning is. 

Routh says when he and other lifeguards see lightning approaching he'll fly a yellow flag to give a warning. 

Once lightning gets about 8 to 10 miles away double red flags will go up meaning everyone should seek shelter inside an enclosed building or a car.

Remember a single bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of up to 60,000 miles per hour and can be 54,000 degrees. That's almost five times hotter than the sun.

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