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 ~ National Lightning Safety Institute ~

Section 3.1

Lightning Fatalities, Injuries, and Damage Reports
in the United States

The following maps and tables show state-by-state lightning deaths from 1990 to 2003 based on Storm Data compiled by Ronald L. Holle, Meteorologist/Consultant at Vaisala Inc.  He notes there is a continuing shift to the south and west in death rates caused by lightning.

Number of Lightning Deaths in the United States, 1990-2003

Number of Lightning Deaths in the
United States, 1990 to 2003

State

Number of
Deaths

Rank

Alabama

24

  7

Alaska

  0

50

Arizona

17

15

Arkansas

13

22

California

  8

29

Colorado

39

  3

Connecticut

  2

43

Delaware

  4

40

D.C.

  1

48

Florida

126

  1

Georgia

23

  9

Hawaii

  0

51

Idaho

  7

32

Illinois

24

  8

Indiana

20

12

Iowa

  9

27

Kansas

  7

33

Kentucky

12

24

Louisiana

23

10

Maine

  6

37

Maryland

12

25

Massachusetts

  2

44

Michigan

13

23

Minnesota

  8

30

Mississippi

14

19

Missouri

12

26

Montana

  7

35

Nebraska

  8

31

Nevada

  2

45

New Hampshire

  2

46

New Jersey

  7

35

New Mexico

14

20

New York

15

18

North Carolina

29

  5

North Dakota

  1

49

Ohio

31

  4

Oklahoma

17

16

Oregon

  2

47

Pennsylvania

25

  6

Puerto Rico

  5

38

Rhode Island

  0

52

South Carolina

19

13

South Dakota

  5

39

Tennessee

16

17

Texas

52

  2

Utah

22

11

Vermont

  3

42

Virginia

19

14

Washington

  4

41

West Virginia

  7

36

Wisconsin

12

28

Wyoming

14

21

United States Total

756

 

Note: One death each occurred in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1991.


Lightning Deaths in the United States Weighted by Population, 1990 to 2003

Lightning Deaths in the United States
Weighted by Population, 1990 to 2003

State

Death Rate Per
Million People

Rank

Wyoming

2.02

    1

Utah

0.70

    2

Colorado

0.65

    3

Florida

0.56

    4

Montana

0.55

    5

New Mexico

0.55

    6

South Dakota

0.47

    7

Idaho

0.39

    8

Alabama

0.38

    9

Louisiana

0.37

  10

Oklahoma

0.35

  11

Vermont

0.35

  12

Mississippi

0.35

  13

Arkansas

0.35

  14

South Carolina

0.34

  15

Maine

0.34

  16

Nebraska

0.33

  17

West Virginia

0.28

  18

North Carolina

0.26

  19

Arizona

0.24

  20

Indiana

0.24

  21

Iowa

0.22

  22

Kentucky

0.21

  23

Tennessee

0.20

  24

Georgia

0.20

  25

Ohio

0.20

  26

Virginia

0.19

  27

Kansas

0.19

  28

Texas

0.18

  29

Maryland

0.16

  30

Wisconsin

0.16

  31

Missouri

0.15

  32

Pennsylvania

0.14

  33

Illinois

0.14

  34

D.C.

0.12

  35

Minnesota

0.12

  36

New Hampshire

0.12

  37

North Dakota

0.11

  38

Puerto Rico

0.09

  39

Michigan

0.09

  40

Nevada

0.07

  41

New Jersey

0.06

  42

New York

0.06

  43

Washington

0.05

  44

Connecticut

0.04

  45

Oregon

0.04

  46

Delaware

0.04

  47

Massachusetts

0.02

  48

California

0.02

  49

Alaska

  0

  50

Hawaii

  0

  51

Rhode Island

  0

  52

The lightning fatality data were collected by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). They come from monthly and annual summaries compiled by the National Weather Service and published in monthly issues of Storm Data.

Statistics for the earlier period from 1959 to 1994 are included in the following article: Curran, E.B., R.L. Holle, and R.E. López, "Lightning casualties and damages in the United States from 1959 to 1994," Journal of Climate, 13, 3448-3453, 2000. The same information is also available at the National Severe Storms Laboratory Web site: Lightning Fatalities, Injuries, And Damage Reports In The United States From 1959-1994 - NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-193, Oct 1997.


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