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Lightning Dangers

The National Weather Service publication Storm Data recorded a total of 4,025 deaths from lightning strikes from the year 1959 through 2013. According to the National Weather Service, lightning caused 23 fatalities across 14 states in 2013.

During a thunderstorm, avoid open spaces, trees, telephone booths, and ballparks. The safest place to be is in a building, preferably one with a lightning rod. The rod offers protection by intercepting lightning—an electrical charge—and transmitting its current into the ground. The other safe place is a car with the windows rolled up, as long as you don't touch any of the metal parts. If lightning strikes, the car's metal body will conduct the charge down to the ground—contrary to popular belief, the rubber of the wheels offers no protection.

Reported Lightning Deaths Per State, 1959—2013

StateDeaths Rank
Alabama 112 12
Alaska 0 51
Arizona 78 23
Arkansas 123 11
California 32 33
Colorado 141 6
Connecticut 17 41
Delaware 15 43
D.C. 5 49
Florida 472 1
Georgia 111 13
Hawaii 0 52
Idaho 27 37
Illinois 102 16
Indiana 92 21
Iowa 73 25
Kansas 66 27
Kentucky 95 20
Louisiana 143 5
Maine 28 36
Maryland 126 10
Massachusetts 30 34
Michigan 107 14
Minnesota 63 28
Mississippi 106 15
Missouri 97 19
Montana 30 35
Nebraska 45 31
Nevada 7 48
New Hampshire 8 45
New Jersey 74 24
New Mexico 90 22
New York 138 8
North Carolina 195 3
North Dakota 12 44
Ohio 146 4
Oklahoma 100 17
Oregon 8 46
Pennsylvania 133 9
Puerto Rico 33 32
Rhode Island 8 47
South Carolina 99 18
South Dakota 25 40
Tennessee 140 7
Texas 215 2
Utah 55 30
Vermont 16 42
Virginia 66 26
Washington 5 50
West Virginia 26 38
Wisconsin 61 29
Wyoming 29 39
Source: National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Reported Lightning Deaths Per Capita, 1959—2013

StateDeath rate
per million
people 1959–2013
Rank
Wyoming 1.231
New Mexico 1.16 2
Arkansas 0.98 3
Colorado 0.82 4
Florida 0.78 5
Mississippi 0.76 6
Montana 0.68 7
Louisiana 0.64 8
South Dakota 0.64 9
Utah 0.62 10
Oklahoma 0.61 11
Vermont 0.56 12
North Carolina 0.56 13
South Carolina 0.55 13
Tennessee 0.54 15
Alabama 0.52 16
Nebraska 0.52 16
Maryland 0.52 16
Idaho 0.50 19
Kansas 0.49 20
Kentucky 0.48 21
Iowa 0.47 22
Maine 0.45 23
Arizona 0.43 23
Delaware 0.43 25
Missouri 0.35 26
North Dakota 0.34 27
Georgia 0.33 28
Indiana 0.30 29
Wisconsin 0.28 30
Minnesota 0.27 31
West Virginia 0.26 32
Texas 0.25 33
Ohio 0.25 34
Puerto Rico 0.21 35
Michigan 0.21 54
Virginia 0.21 37
Pennsylvania 0.20 37
New Jersey 0.17 39
Illinois 0.16 40
New Hampshire 0.15 40
Rhode Island 0.15 42
D.C. 0.14 43
New York 0.14 43
Nevada 0.11 45
Connecticut 0.10 46
Massachusetts 0.09 46
Oregon 0.05 48
California 0.02 49
Washington 0.02 49
Alaska 0 51
Hawaii 0 51
Source: National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Information Please� Database, � 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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