10 Places You're Most Likely To Be Struck By Lightning In The U.S.

10 Places You’re Most Likely to Be Struck by Lightning in the U.S.

In a typical year, the U.S. is zapped by more than 22 million lightning strikes that kill an average of 47 people and severely injure more than 400, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The following list is based on data from the National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI), NOAA, and from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

1. Florida

Florida is by far the most dangerous state when it comes to a person's chances of being struck by lightning. There have been 126 fatalities between 1990 and 2003. The Sunshine State is also at the top according to data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It has the most cities on the list of America's most lightning-prone places— seven alone in the Top 10. Of the 13 deaths so far in 2017, five occurred in Florida.

2. Texas

Texas is the second places where people are in danger of lightning striking them with 52 deaths between 1990 and 2003. The Lone Star State is No. 2 in the same category but covering a longer period of time; between 1959 and 2011 lightning killed 212 people. Texans suffer many lightning fatalities, but the strike/person ratio is not big.

3. Colorado

Two of the 13 people who have died this year as a result of being struck by lightning are from Colorado. One was biking along a mountain trail; the other was out in an open field near a tree. Overall, 39 people have been killed by lightning between 1990 and 2003. For comparison, the state ranks fifth when data is being collected from 1959 – 2011.

4. Ohio

Ohio has seen 31 fatalities between 1990 and 2003; one person was killed in 2017. He was struck in a field behind his house. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from where it is raining, according to Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance; seek shelter. "When thunder roars, go indoors."

5. North Carolina

Two people have so far in 2017 died after being struck by lightning in North Carolina. One of them was working on an aircraft; the other was walking to a store. The total number of deaths between 1990 and 2003 is 29; the figure covering the 1959-2011 period is 193, the third highest.

6. Pennsylvania

Twenty-five fatalities occurred in the Keystone State between 1990 and 2003; 130 between 1959 and 2011. Many more people are struck but survive with long-term, debilitating injuries. Some victims may appear to have a delayed death a few days later if they are resuscitated but have suffered irreversible brain damage, according to NOAA.

7. Alabama

The most lightning-prone city in Alabama is Mobile; it gets 75.5 days with thunderstorms per year. Birmingham is second with 58.8 days, followed by Montgomery – 57.4 days and Huntsville – 56.3 days with thunderstorms. There were 24 deaths in the 13 years until 2003, and 105 between 1959 and 2011. Two people have died so far this year; one was in a boat on a lake and the other just stepped onto the a porch.

8. Illinois

There were 24 fatalities in the Prairie State in 13 years until 2003, ranking the state No. 8. It is No. 14 when the period between 1959 and 2011 is taken into consideration. While no deaths have occurred so far in 2017, a plane with 32 passengers was struck by lightning flying from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Bloomington's Central Illinois Regional Airport. Luckily, no one was hurt.

9. Georgia

There is a continuing shift to the south and west in death rates caused by lightning. Twenty-three people have died as a result of being struck by lightning between 1990 and 2003; that number is 109 for the period 1959-2011. Lightning usually occurs more frequently over land than over the sea, in summer, and most often between noon and 6 p.m. local time.

10. Louisiana

The two most lightning-prone cities in the Pelican State are Baton Rouge and New Orleans with 72 and 67.2 thunderstorm days a year, respectively. Also, these are the 10th and 12th most lightning-prone cities in the country. Twenty-three people have died between 1990 and 2003, placing Louisiana at No. 10 among the places where you're most likely to be struck by lightning.