Lightening Deaths Lowest On Record in 2011
The National Weather Service reports that only 26 people were killed by lightning in the U.S. in 2011, the lowest on record. The new low was set in a year of severe storms, including tornadoes that caused more than 500 fatalities. John Jensenius, the agency’s expert on lightning safety, said that an average of 55 people are killed by lightning each year, but the number of fatalities has tended to decline over the past few decades. In the 1940s, when the nation’s population was less than half its current level, an average of more than 300 were killed by lightning each year, with 432 lightning fatalities in 1942 alone. Jensenius attributed the decline primarily to the weather service’s continuing public education efforts. Jensenius said that the public attitude about lightning has changed, and people now seek a safe place during dangerous weather conditions.
Read more on deaths from lightening strikes: Fewest Lightening Deaths in 2011 (USA Today 1/12/12)