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If you live in Florida these lightning facts, safety tips could save you

Florida is the lightning capitol of the USA. Thus it's important to remember some basic lightning safety tips if you get caught out in a storm.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On average every year there are 25 million lightning strikes in the United States with on average 49 deaths related to lightning strikes. Florida is the lightning capitol of the USA as well. Of the top 15 counties with the most lightning strikes last year, 14 were in the state of Florida.  This is why meteorologist always say the cliché term "when thunder roars head indoors".

In fact did you know that a lightning can strike you from a parent thunderstorm over 20 miles away? In Jacksonville this would be like standing downtown and getting hit by a lightning bolt originating from a cloud over Jacksonville Beach.

Lightning is also a lot hotter than what you might think. It can heat up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That is five times hotter than the surface of the sun!  This despite each bolt only being 5-7" wide. 

The most dangerous activity based on statistics to be doing outside during a storm is fishing. Last year 38 percent of all lightning deaths resulted when people were fishing. 

Credit: WTLV

Thus it's important to remember some basic lightning safety tips. 

1) Don't ignore it: All to often do people wait until it starts to rain to head indoors. Remember if you can hear the thunder you can get hit by lightning. 

2) Where to shelter? Standing next a large tree can be dangerous as that can act as a lightning rod attracting a lightning bolt. Standing in a open field away from objects as well can also be dangerous. The best plan of action is to head to your car or take shelter in a building.  

3) Plan Ahead: Check the First Coast News App or take a look at the latest forecast ensure you are not heading out for a picnic in the middle of a storm. 

RELATED: Another dangerous part of thunderstorms is a microburst. Explainer here.

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