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Lightning Facts

What is lightning?
Lightning is the phenomenon which accompanies the discharge of atmospheric charges from cloud to cloud or cloud to earth. As lightning seeks the path of least resistance, it naturally tends to follow the shortest course between cloud and earth, such as buildings or towering projections.

Positive electrical charges gather in the clouds and negative charges gather in the ground. when the attraction between these two charges are strong enough they come together in the form of lightning.

Some interesting facts:

  • Most lightning strikes occur either at the beginning or the end of a storm.
  • Average lightning strike is 6 miles long.
  • Lightning reaches 50,000 degrees farenheit, 4 times as hot as the sun's surface.
  • A cloud to ground lightning channel can be 2-10 miles long.
  • Voltage in a cloud to ground strike is 100 million to one billion volts.

Other facts:

  • Lightning is the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazard people experience each year.
  • Lightning affects all regions. Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Colorado have the most lightning deaths and injuries every year. Florida is often referred to as "The Lightning Capital of the U.S."
  • Lightning is the #1 cause of storm-related deaths.
  • Damage costs from lightning are estimated at 4-5 billion each year in the U.S.
  • Around the earth, there are 100 lightning strikes per second or 8 million, 6 hundred and 40 thousand times per day. What is commonly referred to as heat lightning is actually lightning too far away to be heard. However the storm may be moving in your direction.
  • There are approximately 100 thousand storms in the US each year.

Lightning strike statistics:

  • Americans are twice as likely to die from a lightning-related death than from a tornado, hurricane or flood.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates there are 200 deaths and 750 severe injuries from lightning each year in the US.
  • 20% of all lightning victims die from the strike.
  • 70% of survivors will suffer serious long-term affects.

Who's at risk?

  • 85% of lightning victims are children and young with a mean age between 10-35
  • 70% of all lightning injuries and fatalities occur in the afternoon.
  • Many survivors of lightning strikes report that immediately before being struck, their hair was standing on end and they had a metallic taste in their mouth.
  • Long-term injuries from lightning strike can include memory and attention loss, chronic numbness, muscle spasm, stiffness, depression, hearing loss and sleep disturbance.

But what about your home, office or commercial structure?

Find out what can happen to your home.

Find out about protecting your business or commercial property.