Archive for February 10th, 2007

LIGHTNING – THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

February 10, 2007

Lightning #1 – Lightning Statistics

Severe weather is interesting yet frightening, beautiful yet destructive, and always fascinating. It makes great news and never fails to attract our attention.  With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to address an aspect of severe and potentially life-threatening weather, thunderstorms.

Lightning strikes the USA approximately 100 times per second or 20 – 30 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per year.

Death caused by lightning is second only to floods for weather-related deaths, according to the National Weather Service, with an average of approximately 100 deaths per year over the past 40 years. 

Lightning strikes have a 10% – 20% mortality rate with a 70% – 80% morbidity rate. 

The odds of being struck by lightning in a year are 1/700,000 or a lifetime prevalence of 1/3000. 

USA Weather-Related Deaths as per the National Weather Service: (over 40 years)
#1  Floods – 150/year
#2  Lightning – 100/year  (500 – 1000 injuries per year)
#3  Tornado –  68/year
#4  Avalanche –  50/year
#5  Hurricane –  16/year

For more detailed information about lightning and lightning-related injuries, see the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter, Lightning – Beauty & the Beast, July/August 2003.

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