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June and July peak months for lightning deaths

Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:05:21 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 24 2014 08:11:50 AM EDT

It's the first full week of summer and that means millions will be outdoors soaking up the sunshine. It also means if you aren't careful, you could be at risk of getting struck by lightning.

Lightning strikes injure over two-hundred forty thousand people across the world each year and ranks in the top 3 for weather-related deaths in the US.

So far in 2014, 7 people have been killed from lightning strikes.  All of them were males, most from Florida and nearly all were killed on a Wednesday.

In Virginia, 8 people were struck by lightning between 2001 and 2010. Most of those occurred in June and July, the two peak months for lightning fatalities.

Research confirms males are killed 4 times as often as females, and are 5 times as likely as females to be injured in a strike.

MOST LIKELY PLACES TO BE STRUCK

The big misconception is that you can only be struck if the storm is over you, when in fact, lightning can strike up to 10 miles in either direction of an approaching or departing storm.

Many outdoor recreation facilities are investing in advanced technology to keep their guests safe. 

A report from the National Weather Service found that 64 percent of lightning deaths in the U.S. since 2006 occurred while people were involved in leisure outdoor activities.

Of those activities, recreational fishing topped the list with 26 lightning-related deaths. Camping was next in line followed by boating, soccer and golf.

The remaining deaths by lightning occurred among those enjoying a variety of outdoor activities, including swimming, relaxing at the beach, running, walking, riding recreational vehicles, and picnicking.

So far in 2014, those struck by lightning were doing everyday things, from picking blueberries to riding a motorcycle.

LIGHTNING DEATHS IN 2014 (as of June 24)

NO.DATEDAYSTATEAGESEXLOCATIONACTIVITY
15/9FRITX60MBackyard near tree
25/14WEDFL40MConstruction SiteClosing Car Window
35/14WEDFL71MEdge of LakeFishing
45/22THUNM44MHighwayRiding Motorcycle
55/29THUFL55MRooftop of BuildingRoofing
66/13FRIFL71MBlueberry PatchPicking Blueberries
76/18WEDMI32MIn park under tree

This week Meteorologist Brent Watts will look at real-life situations and how to avoid getting stuck in a lightning storm with nowhere to go.