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Lightning is a global concern. In the U.S., lightning kills more than 50 people every year on average -- and injures hundreds more. Across the globe, lightning continues to threaten life and property. 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.