All Weather News

Struck by Lightning: The Odds

9 Jun 2017, 4:26 pm

Each year, in the United States, some 310 people are struck by lightning. Of those, about 10% are fatal.
There are many factors that play into your odds of being struck. From where you live to your gender!
And while it sounds strange, if you read along I’ll make it as simple as possible.

Lightning Prone States

For some, this tidbit will come as a shocker– pun intended.
The southeastern U.S. sees more lightning than any other part of the country.

In fact, all of the top 4 lightning prone states are in the southeast.

  1. Alabama
    More than 820,000 lightning strikes per year in this Gulf Coast state.
  2. Mississippi
    Not too far ahead of Alabama, Mississippi boast some 840,000 strikes of lightning each year.
  3. Louisiana
    We up the game in the state of parishes. More than 940,000 bolts light up the sky here!
  4. Florida
    Leaving the competition in the dust, Florida sees some 1,450,000 strokes of lightning each year.

For starters, if you think about it, these stats aren’t that far-fetched. These states seldom see winter weather, which means they have much more time throughout the year to get those numbers to add up.
But the real mind-bender arises when we dive into the strikes that hit people.

Struck by Lightning

First, let’s break it down by state. Top 4?

Okay:

  1. Ohio
  2. Colorado
  3. Texas
  4. Florida

Now, Florida makes perfect sense. The unfortunate correlation between human-strikes and strikes in general is an unfortunate reality. But things get weird when you start diving deeper into the numbers.

Arlington, Texas Golf

Talk about some dedicated golfers Sunday in Arlington, Texas! As heavy rain fell, these golfers kept on golfing. WeatherNationTV.com – Video: utagolf

Posted by WeatherNation on Sunday, June 4, 2017

Men v. Women

Bad news for all of the guys reading this— you are more likely to be struck by lightning than your female counterpart.

In fact, as a dude, you are more than 4 times more likely to be struck!

Why?
Because men are dumb.
Now before you go jumping on that sexist remark– remember I’m boasting a Y chromosome myself.

It simply breaks down to the fact that men put themselves in lightning-prone situations more often than women.

There. I just saved you the pain of reading the results a super long study.

Myths

There are plenty of myths surrounding lightning safety— so let’s address a few of the biggies

  • Lightning never strikes the same place twice
    Please! The Empire State Building gets struck an average of 23 times each year. I never want to hear this one again.
  • Lightning can’t strike without clouds or rain
    My kid sister was hit by a positive bolt of lightning. Under clear skies lightning can still strike. In fact, up to ten miles from the storm itself.
  • Hiding under a tall tree can save you from a strike
    Nope. This is actually the second leading cause of lightning-related deaths. It travels down the tree and finishes the job.
  • If in a field, you should lie flat on the ground
    Again, no. Seek shelter immediately. Run don’t walk.

Lightning Safety

I’ve watched this video enough times that I can mouth the words along with John VanPelt.
And as the threat of storms isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I recommend you do the same!

Remember that stat from the beginning?
Well, if some 310,000,000 people live in the U.S. your odds of being struck by lightning this year are so close to 1 in a million we can just call it that.

1/1,000,000 is better odds than winning the PowerBall– so if you’re headed to pick up a ticket, just don’t do it during a thunderstorm.

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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