National Lightning Safety Awareness Week - Tuesday

...Lightning's Most Deadly Activities...

This week is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week.

If you're outside when a thunderstorm is in the area, you're at risk of being struck and potentially killed or seriously injured by lightning.  However, there are some activities that lead to more lightning deaths and injuries than others.

In the past eight years, leisure activities led to almost two thirds of the lightning fatalities in the United States. Water-related activities, and particularly fishing, contributed most to the fatalities. Since 2006, 30 people who had been fishing died as a result of lightning.  Boating and beach activities also contributed significantly to the death toll.  In most cases, victims simply waited far too long before starting to seek shelter.



For more statistics and charts, see Lightning Fatality Statistics: By the Charts

When it comes to water-related activities, there are several important things to remember.

  • Always have a plan so that you can get to a safe place before the storm arrives.
  • Head to that safe place immediately if you see any signs of a developing or approaching thunderstorm.  Don't hesitate.

Question of the day – If water activities are so dangerous, why don't all the fish in a pond or lake get killed when lightning strikes the water?


When lightning strikes water, most of the discharge occurs along the surface of the water.  Since most fish swim well below the water surface, they are safe.  However, people normally swim along the surface of the water and can easily killed by a lightning discharge.



For additional information about lightning or lightning safety, visit NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness web site at: is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.