LightningThe Underrated Killer

In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million lightning flashes each year. During the past 30 years, lightning killed an average of 62 people per year . This ties the average of 62 deaths per year caused by tornadoes. Yet because lightning usually claims only one or two victims at a time and does not cause mass destruction of property, it is underrated as a risk. While documented lightning injuries in the United States average about 300 per year, undocumented injuries likely much higher.

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from area where it is raining. That's about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.

Outdoor Activities: Minimize the Risk of Being Struck: Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, coaches, camp counselors and other adults must stop activities at the first roar of thunder to ensure everyone time to get a large building or enclosed vehicle.

Summary: Lightning is dangerous. With common sense, you can greatly increase your safety and the safety of those you are with. At the first clap of thunder, go a large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder to back outside.