88th Annual Meeting (20-24 January 2008)

Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Florida lightning deaths and injuries 2004-2007
Exhibit Hall B (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Charles H. Paxton, NOAA/NWSFO, Ruskin, FL; and J. Colson and N. Carlisle
Poster PDF (388.3 kB)
Florida is the most lightning prone state. From 1994 to 2003 Florida average annual lightning causalities were nine deaths and 57 injuries. However, during the last several years -- as the population grew from 13.5 million in 1992 to over 18 million in 2006 -- lightning deaths and injuries decreased statewide. From 2004 to 2007, lightning deaths averaged 7 per year and injuries averaged 35 per year. This represents a 22 percent decrease in deaths and a corresponding 39 percent decrease in injuries. This good news suggests that lightning awareness programs may be working.

While death is absolute, injuries vary considerably from completely debilitating to minimal effect. The most common victims are construction workers and others who work outdoors. Interestingly, 12 percent of the injuries occurred inside while the victims were using electrical devices. With the continued promotion of lightning awareness, perhaps the number of lightning victims will continue to decrease.

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