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Lightning Deaths 1998-2008

The National Weather Service publication Storm Data recorded a total of 449 deaths from lightning strikes between 1998 and 2008. According to the National Weather Service, lightning causes an average of 62 deaths and 300 injuries in the United States each year.

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, 1998–2008

Rank State Number of deaths Rank State Number of deaths
1. Florida 74 27. Oklahoma 6
2. Texas 28 28. Wisconsin 6
3. Colorado 27 29. Wyoming 6
4. Georgia 23 30. Iowa 4
5. North Carolina 19 31. Kansas 4
6. Alabama 16 32. Maine 3
7. Louisiana 16 33. Minnesota 3
8. South Carolina 15 34. Nebraska 3
9. Ohio 15 35. Puerto Rico 3
10. Tennessee 13 36. Rhode Island 3
11. Pennsylvania 13 37. South Dakota 3
12. Illinois 11 38. Massachusetts 3
13. Michigan 11 39. Vermont 2
14. Mississippi 11 40. Idaho 1
15. Utah 11 41. Nevada 1
16. New Jersey 10 42. New Mexico 1
17. Missouri 9 43. West Virginia 1
18. Virginia 9 44. Connecticut 1
19. Arizona 8 45. Alaska 0
20. Arkansas 9 46. D.C. 0
21. Kentucky 8 47. Delaware 0
22. New York 8 48. Hawaii 0
23. California 7 49. New Hampshire 0
24. Maryland 7 50. North Dakota 0
25. Indiana 6 51. Oregon 0
26. Montana 6 51. Washington 0
Source: National Severe Storms Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Information Please® Database, © 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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