The phrase “struck by lightning” refers to something that doesn’t happen too often. While most of the injuries and deaths attributed to lightning are preventable, Angela Oder at the National Weather Service says we tend to underrate the danger of becoming a victim.
In the average year in the U.S., about 67 people are killed, and she says far more survive but suffer injuries and long-lasting symptoms, around 300 a year. The number of people killed by lightning is second only to those killed by flooding.
She says we tend to brush aside the danger of lightning, since one thunderbolt doesn’t have the scale or impact of a big storm or other widespread natural event. Since lightning doesn’t leave behind the mass destruction a tornado or hurricane would, and only one or two people are killed at a time by lightning, people can tend to underestimate the danger.
The Centers for Disease Control also collects data on lightning, and reports that 92-percent of the fatalities occur during May-September, and 73-percent happen during the afternoon and early evening.
Fifty-two-percent of the people who died from lightning strikes were engaged in outdoor recreational activities at the time and 25-percent were working when it happened.
Related web sites:
C-D-C Lightning tips