(CUMBERLAND, Maine) — NEWS: According to the National Lightning Safety Council, the lightning death toll of 11 in 2021 set a new record for the fewest documented U.S. lightning deaths in a year. The previous low recorded by NOAA was 16 deaths in 2017.
“This new low of 11 lightning deaths is dramatically fewer than the 432 Americans killed by lightning in 1943,” said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council (NLSC).
During 2021, leisure activities contributed to eight of the 11 lightning fatalities with work-related activities causing the remaining three. Five of the fatalities were on beaches with three on golf courses. Listings of lightning fatalities since 2006 can be found on the National Lightning Safety Council website (http://lightningsafetycouncil.org/LSC-LightningFatalities.html).
“With more than 194 million lightning events detected across the United States and 2.4 billion detected around the world in 2021, lightning safety should be a consideration during any outdoor activity,” said Chris Vagasky, a lightning data specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council.
Jensenius attributes the recent drop in lightning fatalities to increased awareness efforts, including lightning safety campaigns, and the growing accessibility of weather information.
“When the Lightning Safety Awareness Campaign began in 2001, the U.S. averaged 47 lightning fatalities a year,” Jensenius explained. “The average number of deaths for the past five years has now dropped to 17. It’s very rewarding to know that the campaign has been so successful.”
The record low in lightning deaths is an important milestone in the lightning safety awareness effort in light of a significant increase in U.S. and global lightning activity, as documented by Vaisala in its 2021 Annual Lightning Report. Amidst a constantly changing lightning landscape, the NLSC emphasizes the importance of continued vigilance against the capricious weather threat.
“Continued efforts to increase lightning safety awareness will help keep people safe in the United States and globally,” said Vagasky.
The National Lightning Safety Council invites educators, government officials and others to help build lightning safe communities by learning more about lightning safety, lightning protection and risk reduction.
Visit the http://www.lightningsafetycouncil.org/ for shareable information, resources and safety tips.
Inquiries about specific lightning concerns can also be addressed to Council members via contacts here: http://www.lightningsafetycouncil.com/LSC-About.html.
Related link: http://lightningsafetycouncil.org/
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