National Lightning Safety Council

Chris Vagasky

The National Lightning Safety Council is working to shine a spotlight on the lightning hazard and expand its mission to promote lightning safety awareness. This month the Council connected with member, Chris Vagasky, to discuss his role in the lightning safety effort.

Q. What is your background or education?

I am a meteorologist with more than a decade of working to communicate weather information to the public. I studied meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and Mississippi State University and have worked for T.V. stations in Oklahoma and Vaisala Inc. in Colorado.

Q. How did you get interested in lightning safety?

Weather preparedness has always been a passion of mine. Weather is the great equalizer that affects everybody every day, so knowing how to be ready for the weather is especially important. As I started to use lightning data in my daily work, I recognized the potential to use that information to help make people more aware of the threat of lightning. This lead to me becoming more aware of lightning incidents involving people, animals, and property.

Q. How did you get involved with the National Lightning Safety Council?

One of my colleagues is Ron Holle, a long-time member of the National Lightning Safety Council. In 2020, I was invited to join the Council. It has been a great experience working with all of these experts in the lightning safety community.

Q. What do you see in the future regarding the study of lightning? What do you think is moving the cause of lightning safety and lightning safety awareness forward?

We’ve seen in recent months a significant increase in attention paid to lightning safety globally and it’s really exciting to see that. The National Lightning Safety Council has done an excellent job of developing relationships internationally and it’s great to see the fruits of our labor in increased awareness of lightning safety.

Q. Can you tell us about a specific project you are working on or are passionate about in the study of lightning or the lightning safety awareness movement?

Lately, I’ve been looking at lightning events around baseball games and am working on drafting a journal article summarizing those results. The best way for us to continue driving lightning safety forward is to have exciting stories about lightning and lightning safety that we can share, so that the topic catches attention and drives awareness.

Q. Do you have any other comments or words of wisdom for readers?

We’re quickly approaching the peak of lightning season, so remember to go indoors when thunder roars! Find a cause that you’re passionate about. The world will change for the better wen passionate people are driving things forward. ###