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Things You Probably Don't Know About Lightning
News story originally written on June 25, 1999

Everyone knows that lightning is very dangerous. But how much do you really know about lightning? Do you know how it really works? How many people are killed or injured each year? Where do most lightning deaths occur? Below are some interesting facts about those dangerous flashes.

So, how deadly is lightning? On average, about 100 people are killed in the United States every year. This is actually more than tornadoes or hurricanes! Also, a large majority of lightning strike victims is male. This may be due to the large number of male golfers and football players!

Can you guess which state holds the title of "Deadliest State"? If you're thinking of a state in the famous Tornado Alley, you're wrong. It's not Oklahoma or Texas. The title actually belongs to.... Florida. That's right! Twice as many lightning casualties occur in Florida than any other state. Not surprising, is the fact that most deaths occur on Sunday than any other day of the week. Why? Because it is the most popular day to be out on the golf course!

The most important thing to remember, is that safety comes first during an electric storm. So, when your local meteorologist predicts a thunderstorm in the afternoon, (which happens to be the time of day with the most lightning strikes) don't head out to the local golf course. You may get much more than you bargained for!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA