ORLANDO, Fla. – The National Lightning Safety Council has released the latest lightning fatality numbers, reporting a sixth person was struck and killed.
A man was hiking in Fresno County, California, when lightning struck a tree he had taken shelter under. Reports show 37-year-old Nicholas Torchia was leaning on the tree when it was struck by lightning, ultimately electrocuting the hiker.
Just six days prior, 41 year-old Brent Jerome was struck and killed while on the beach in Sanibel Island, Florida, with his wife and two children. Statistics from the NLSC show Florida typically leads the nation in lightning deaths.
There are now 79 lightning deaths reported in the state since 2006. Lightning Safety Specialist Jon Jensenius says beach activities are the second greatest contributor of lightning deaths. In the last 15 years, a total of 28 people died after being struck by lightning while on the beach. That includes three this year, which is half of the total reported.
The most recent lightning fatality is the first for California in a little over a year and the 12th hiking-related death in the nation since 2006. California has reported 8 lightning related deaths in the last 15 years.
Read more on why Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes and how to stay safe by clicking here.