Deaths from Lightning Strikes This Year at Highest Since 2009
Lightning kills an average of 49 people in the United States each year. That’s not to mention the hundreds that are severely injured, but this year lightning has already killed as many people in the U.S. than all off 2015. Lightning is accountable for 30 deaths so far this year.
One of the reasons for this is that people don’t like the inconvenience of thunderstorms. “They have plans, they want to go through with those plans, and they are willing to take the chance. Unfortunately, some people are killed or injured because they do take a chance,” said a National Weather Service lightning safety specialist.
Some of the 2016 lightning fatalities include people working in their yards, riding horses, hiking, camping, or simply attending a family picnic. On average, more of these deaths have been men than women. The NWS says that is partly because men typically are doing outdoor work more often than women, but another reason could be because men tend to take more risks than women do as well.
No place is a guaranteed safe place when there are thunderstorms in the area. If you hear thunder, that means lightning is close enough to strike you. When you hear thunder, head inside to a safe shelter, which the NWS considers a “substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.”
If you are indoors, stay off computers and electrical items, including corded phones. It is also recommended to avoid plumbing, like sinks, baths and faucets.
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