On Saturday, lightning struck a 32-year-old man at Sunken Meadow State Park. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
This death marks the 16th
lightning fatality of 2018, matching the 2017 total. According to the 12-year average, approximately 32 people die every year from lightning strikes.
This also represents the first lightning fatality in New York since 2016 when four lightning fatalities occurred that August. Before 2016, the last lightning fatality was in 2013 when a 26-year-old man was struck standing under a tree.
According to a study done by the National Weather Service
, men account for 80% of all lightning fatalities with more than 90% of them occurring during fishing, sports, and work activities.
While summer brings sunshine and warmth, it also brings an increased exposure to lightning. Fatalities peak during the summer months with over 70% of them occurring in June, July, or August.
Unsurprisingly, outdoor and sporting events make up the majority of lightning deaths. Contrary to popular belief, golf is not the leading contributor. Instead, soccer ranks highest in lightning fatalities.
No matter the season, day, or activity, sheltering during thunderstorms is a sure way to avoid lightning. As the National Weather Service says, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”.