Florida leads nation in fatal lightning strikes

Florida remains the most deadly state in the nation for lightning strikes.

Fifty-two people have been killed by lightning since January 2007, according to a Naples Daily News report Sunday.

Nine people were killed by lightning in Florida last year, including a tourist in Volusia County.

Janika Gardner of Georgia died after she was hit by lightning on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores on June 24, 2016, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

She was the last lightning fatality in Volusia County, NOAA said.

Two people have been killed by lightning so far this year. Laura Miller, 37, died after being hit by lightning while riding a horse in Douglas County, Colorado on May 7.

Florida far outpaces any other state when it comes to lightning-related deaths. Texas had 21 deaths, less than half of Florida’s deaths in the same time period, according to a USA Today Network-Florida analysis.

DeBary resident Terri Hoag survived a lightning blast 11 years ago.

Hoag currently serves on the city of DeBary’s community center task force.

Some residents of The Reserve at DeBary were credited with saving Hoag after she was struck by lightning in May 2006 while carrying her then 2-year-old son to a neighbor’s house, according to the Orando Sentinel.

Son Logan wasn’t grounded and wasn’t shocked, the newspaper said.

Lightning facts and safety tips from NOAA:

“If you’re outside and hear thunder, the only way to significantly reduce your risk of becoming a lightning casualty is to get inside a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle as fast as you can.”

During storms:

  • Avoid open areas. Don’t be the tallest object in the area.
  • Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility
    poles.
  • Lightning tends to strike the taller objects in an
    area.
  • Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or
    fences.
  • Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can
    travel long distances through it.

 

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