Florida leads country in lightning related deaths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The summer is heating up and along with it strong thunderstorms and a lot of lightning.

The first full week of summer also ushers in what is call Lightning Safety Awareness week across the country. Florida leads the country in the number of lightning fatalities: seven so far this year with four in Florida.

The lightning capital of world said Deegan is between Orlando and Tampa with the First Coast also known for the presence of strikes from above.

"I think we all kind of know you hear the thunder you should be inside," said Fire Coast News meteorologist Tim Deegan.

Deegan said while hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding get most of the attention lightning is the biggest weather related threat to people.

Deegan said what we know about lightning has changed and what was once theory is now fact.

"A lightning strike can extend into a clear sky and eventually ground 15 miles away from the thunderstorm, so don't wait till dark cloud over head," said the veteran meteorologist.

He also noted that the most dangerous places to be during a lightning event is on a boat or near a tall tree that is standing by itself. Deegan said most of lightning injuries or deaths happen near those two places in Florida and Georgia.


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