Mother Nature can throw just about anything at us. Sometimes we have plenty of time to prepare (hurricanes and blizzards), and other times we have to react in moments (tornadoes). The results can be devastating/catastrophic. But, we can track storms more accurately, and we can have plans should the inevitable happen. Then there are deaths due to lightning strikes. In the 2012 Farmers’ Almanac we shared the experience of lightning survivors, in some cases struck twice and lived to tell about it.
John Jensenius works with the Nation Weather Service in Gray, Maine. He has made it his cause to help educate people about lightning safety. At one time the average number of deaths from strikes in the US was 76. In the last 20 years, that average has dropped to 53, and it continues to decline.
Lightning Fatalities By Month
* Year to date
While fatalities started quickly this year, it looks like we might see a record low. Clearly, we have made progress in reducing the number of deaths. I credit, John, the National Weather Service and NOAA for education efforts.
Sports teams have instituted safety policies, such as not allowing play to start for at least half an hour after the last lightning has been viewed. We have all become more sensitive to strikes and that anything can happen. For the most part, deaths occur when someone hides under a tree trying to escape a storm.
Remember, if there is a storm, stay indoors if at all possible. Here is a link to ways to remain safe during lightning storms.