85th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 9 January 2005
Lightning-caused recreation deaths and injuries
Ronald L. Holle, Holle Meteorology & Photography, Oro Valley, AZ
Poster PDF (117.6 kB)
Reports of lightning-caused deaths and injuries around the world have been summarized in four recreation situations soccer, baseball and softball, golf, and camping and tents. Each recreation type had a somewhat different typical activity taking place at the time of the events, as well as varying relationships to the thunderstorms producing the lightning. About 200 cases of lightning casualties during these recreation activities will be summarized from around the world.

Soccer events tend to have multiple lightning casualties during a game that is sometimes played in heavy rain. Baseball and softball casualties from lightning have occurred during, after, and before a game. There are as many golf casualties from lightning during the game itself as when players seek safety under trees and inside ungrounded structures. Lightning casualties related to camping and tents tend to occur in the vicinity of trees. Since many of the events involved youth, the age distribution of these cases will be identified.

A common situation in all of these types of recreation is that more attention needs to be paid to developing and following plans for the occurrence of lightning. In order to take proper precautions, all of these situations require education in advance to avoid the lightning threat. Then, safe locations can be reached by participants and spectators at all phases of each type of recreation, including practice, around the field of play, and in the campground, before, during, and after the lightning.

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