Lightning is a major cause of storm related deaths in the U.S. A lightning strike can result in a cardiac arrest (heart stopping) at the time of the injury, although 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 the National Weather Center Storm Data, over the last 30 years (1981-2010) the U.S. has averaged 53 reported lightning fatalities per year. Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.
All of us need to practice lightning safety to avoid becoming one of the victims of mathematical odds, below:
Odds of Becoming a Lightning Victim
|Estimated U.S. population as of 2011||310,000,000|
|Annual Number of Deaths Reported||39||Number of Injuries Reported||241||280|
|Estimated number of U.S. Deaths||40||Estimated number of actual Injuries||360||400|
|Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year (reported deaths + injuries)||1/1,000,000|
|Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year (estimated total deaths + injuries)||1/775,000|
|Odds of being struck in your lifetime (Est. 80 years)||1/10,000|
|Odds you will be affected by someone being struck (Ten people affected for every one struck)||1/1000|