Fishing and going to the beach are the top activities for lightning strike fatalities, according to a study conducted by NOAA’s National Weather Service.
From from 2006 through 2017, there were a total of 34 deaths from fishing, 22 beach, 19 camping, and 17 boating. Yard work (including mowing the lawn) accounted for 14.
Among sporting activities, soccer saw the greatest number of deaths with 12, with golf a close second at 10.
Florida Leads In Lightning Fatalities
Florida leads the nation in the number of lightning strike fatalities by a wide margin. From from 2008 through 2017, 47 deaths occurred in the Sunshine State.
Lightning strikes are unusually high in Florida because the peninsula experiences two sea breeze from the east coast and the west coast. The “push” between these two breezes forces ground air upward and triggers thunderstorms, mainly in Central Florida from Tampa to Orlando to Cocoa Beach – which also happens to be areas most visited by tourists.
As seen in this video, Brevard County Ocean Rescue lifeguards clear the beach when a fast-moving line of thunderstorms producing hail, gusty winds, and lightning quickly approach Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Over 70% Of Lightning Deaths Occur In Summer
More than 70% of lightning fatalities occur in June, July, or August. These months not only have the greatest amount of lightning activity in the U.S., but they are also the months when people spend more time outside enjoying a variety of recreational and leisure activities.
Shelter Best Protection From Lightning
The best way for people to protect themselves against lightning injury or death is to monitor the weather and postpone or cancel outdoor activities when thunderstorms are in the forecast.
Lightning can strike from 10 miles away, so if people can hear thunder, they are in danger of being struck by lightning.
The only safe places to be during a thunderstorm are in a building with four walls and a roof or in a car. A hut, cabana, tent, or other rain shelter will not protect a person from being struck by lightning.