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A statistical model for the inter-annual and intra-annual number of lightning fatalities

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011
A statistical model for the inter-annual and intra-annual number of lightning fatalities
Washington State Convention Center
William P. Roeder, Private Meteorologist, Rockledge, FL
Manuscript (241.3 kB)

Poster PDF (235.3 kB)

The number of fatalities from lightning has been steadily declining in the United States for many decades. As a result, assessing the expected number of lightning fatalities in a particular year and whether it is statistically significantly above or below the expected value is difficult. Even more difficult is assessing the expected number of lightning fatalities by date within any particular year and whether it is statistically ahead or behind expectation. Statistical models are presented to estimate the expected number of lightning fatalities for any particular year in the near future and the expected number of fatalities by date within that year and associated error bars for both.

These statistical models can be used as part of communicating lightning safety to the public. For example, if the lightning death rate is significantly ahead of expectation at a certain date during a year, that information can be used to increase public interest and even justify increasing the amount of public education effort. As another example, if lightning fatality numbers were to start showing a statistically significant steady rate over several years, that might be evidence that a change in lightning safety public education is needed.