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Across the globe, lightning kills thousands. In the U.S., lightning kills more than 50 people every year on average -- and injures hundreds more. Even with advancements in technology, education and warning capabilities, lightning kills more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined annually.


The Facts:

  • Over the past 20 years, on average, 51 people were killed each year by lightning in the U.S. alone (NOAA).
  • About 10% of people struck are killed; the vast majority -- 90% -- are left with varying levels of disability. (Mary Ann Cooper, MD; University of Illinois at Chicago; Disability, Not Death, Is the Main Problem with Lightning Injury (2007).

  • Lightning is the #2 weather killer in the U.S. (National Lightning Safety Institute).

  • Lightning makes an economic impact of $5 billion in the U.S. each year (NOAA).

  • Lightning is the first thunderstorm hazard to arrive and the last to leave (NWS).

  • A bolt of lightning can reach a temperature of 50,000 degrees -- that's five times hotter than the surface of the sun!

About Lightning:

  • There are two types of lightning: cloud-to-ground lightning that hits the ground, and in-cloud lightning, which remains in the clouds and comprises the vast majority of lightning.

  • Researchers have long known that in-cloud lightning often serves as an early indicator of extreme weather – from heavy rain and hail to dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and tornadoes.

We are proud to collaborate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) on lightning safety.