Florida leads nation in lightning deaths, history shows July as the most active month

From 2010-2019 Florida had 47 lives claimed by lightning

July in Central Florida is hot, humid, stormy, and the most active month for lightning deaths.
July in Central Florida is hot, humid, stormy, and the most active month for lightning deaths. (pixabay.com)

ORLANDO, Fla. – July in Central Florida is hot, humid, stormy, and the most active month for lightning deaths.

History speaks for itself.

Nearly 34 years ago a 15-year-old boy was struck and killed while water skiing.

In 1990, a man who was wading in the ocean was killed by lightning just after noon.

A year later lightning took the life of a fisherman in a boat on Lake Eva.

Not all victims of lightning are in or on water.

In 1964, a citrus grove worker was killed while working in a Haines City orange grove.

Another teen life was taken in Ormond Beach the summer of 1971.

This time the victim was closer to water, but not in it. The boy was standing on the beach in front of a motel.

Other detailed reports from the National Weather Service records show people being struck and killed by lightning while roofing, chopping wood, standing under trees, riding horses, riding a tractor, even standing on a ladder inside a home.

The odds of being struck by lightning according to the Lightning Safety Council, depends on the persons behavior when thunderstorms are in the area.

If a person chooses to go inside when lightning is a threat, the odds of being struck are near zero, but if the threat is ignored, the odds are much higher.

If a person chooses to go inside when lightning is a threat, the odds of being struck are near zero, but if the threat is ignored, the odds are much higher. (WKMG)

Florida currently leads the nation in lightning fatalities. In a study done by Vaisala, a lightning data company, from 2010-2019 Florida had 47 lives claimed by lightning. Right behind Florida is Texas with 21 deaths.

So far in 2020, eight people have died from a lightning strike nationwide, one of those happened in Florida.

So far in 2020, eight people have died from a lightning strike nationwide, one of those happened in Florida. (WKMG)
So far in 2020, eight people have died from a lightning strike nationwide, one of those happened in Florida. (WKMG)

Here’s the big question. Why July and why Florida? Let’s break it down. Summer vacations are in full swing which means more people are out and about taking advantage of the theme parks, beaches, springs, and lakes. Add the greater population outdoors to the fact we have more lightning in summer storms and there’s the reality.

To learn how to reduce your odds of being stuck click this link.


About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.