Lightning is one of nature's most fascinating but most misunderstood phenomena. Some astounding facts about lightning:
- The air around a bolt of lightning can heat to 50,000º F. (This rapid heating causes rapid expansion of the air, which then causes thunder.)
- A bolt of lightning can contain 100,000,000 volts of electricity, and stretch more than five miles in length.
- At any given moment, there are 1,800 thunderstorms in progress somewhere on the earth--amounting to an average of 16,000,000 storms and 25,000,000 lightning strikes each year.
Unfortunately, lightning isn't all fun facts and figures. Over the last 30 years, an average of 55 people per year have been killed by lightning in the United States - a higher death rate than hurricanes (47), and those are only the documented cases. Since 1959, Alabama ranks 18th in the nation in lightning deaths (110 people) per capita, while Tennessee ranks 14th (140 deaths).
Don't become a statistic! There are ways to protect yourself--check out our safety tips.
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