Lightning Strikes Are Killing Less People Than Ever

  • Fewer Americas are dying from lightning strikes each year
  • Random strikes are still creating problems like wildfires and city-wide blackouts
  • Other odd causes of death are on the rise instead
Scary Lightning Strike
via Britannica.com

Every day, America wakes up to the news that a world war is on the horizon, but only if a civil war doesn’t happen first. Today, however, there’s good news! While many people might die via a nuclear bomb in the next few months, fewer and fewer Americans are dying from random bolts of lightning.

Lightning was once one of the biggest threats to humans, but new numbers reveal fewer fatalities via random storms, mostly because people are much better at getting out of harms way now.

The Associated Press shared some of those encouraging numbers. So far this year, only 13 people have died after being struck, and the country is on pace to hit a record low 17 deaths via lightning bolt. Compare that to the insane stats of 1940, a year that witnessed more than 300 people killed by lightning.

The AP spoke with Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor Paul Markowski, who explained that the country is experiencing the same number of storms each year, but people are just smarter about taking cover.

“As a society, we spend less time outside,” explained Harold Brooks, a scientist with the National Weather Service’s National Severe Storms Laboratory. Brooks continued that farmers accounted for the largest number of victims, but there aren’t as many farms today.

Another factor in the increased survival rates for the unlucky winners of a bolt to the backside is better medical care in emergency rooms. ER doctors focus more on neurological damage and treat victims similar to the way victims of high-voltage electric shocks receive treatment.

Lightning might not be as big of an issue as it was back when FDR ran the country, but the freak weather occurrence can still cause havoc. Random bolts are responsible for countless disasters like wilderness fires, city-wide blackouts, and the destruction of an impressive collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

But while Americans have to worry less about in a bolt from the blue, other random events are killing more people than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control keeps extensive records detailing how Americans die. From 1999 to 2014, 951 people have died at the hands of lawn mowers, and 1,413 people died after falling out of trees. Over 10K people accidentally suffocated in bed while another 10,386 died from falling out of bed. And perhaps the oddest and most painful death of all—2,167 Americans died from constipation.

It’s safe to assume texting will soon rank high on the list.

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