Lightning strikes far more men than women, statistics show

Jun 30, 2011 By Ken Kaye, Sun Sentinel

When it comes to lightning, females are cautious and males are reckless.

The result: Between 1995 and 2008, lightning killed 648 people, and of those, 82 percent were male, according to AccuWeather.com.

"Men take more risks in lightning storms," said John Jensenius, of the , adding that males are less willing to walk away from or sports.

Indeed, those pastimes are involved in almost half of all lightning-related deaths, according to Popular Science.

Florida sees more thunderstorms and lightning than anywhere else in the United States, with South Florida, Tampa Bay and the Interstate 4 corridor near Orlando tied for seeing the most bolts per year, the said. For instance, Tampa Bay once recorded up to 50,000 flashes in June alone.

While there have been no local deaths this year, lightning has so far killed six people nationwide, all of them male. Among them: A 26 year-old-man, playing baseball in Ruby, S.C., on June 21, and a 49-year-old man, golfing in Shreveport, La., on June 7.

Since 1959, lightning has killed 94 people in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, or an average of about two per year. On average, another 10 are injured each year. Most of the deaths, more than 70 percent, occurred during June, July and August.

In Central Florida, from Tampa Bay to Melbourne, more than 110 people were killed in the same time period. The last: A young man was killed in Melbourne Beach in July 2009, the weather service said.

On July 4, 2009, in Polk County, lightning struck in a field as a church group was in the middle of a soccer game and picnic. One man died, 18 were injured.

In July 2007, in Pinellas County, lightning struck a 16-year-old boy and his mother, while they were on Treasure Island Beach. The bolt hit the boy in the chest, knocking him unconscious. He died four days later. The mother was not seriously injured.

While no one was killed, last September a bolt struck a light post shortly after the start of a high school football game in Orange County, sending two people to the hospital and prompting a chaotic evacuation of the metal stands.

The most recent South Florida lightning deaths: A 37-year-old man was struck while standing in a 14-foot aluminum boat in Biscayne Bay in Miami in September 2009. In June 2009, landscaper Dessalines Oleus, 53, of Pompano Beach, was struck as he was mowing a lawn in Coral Springs.

In August 2003, two Palm Beach County men were struck on the same day at their homes, one in Delray Beach as he trimmed his lawn and the other in his driveway near Boca Raton.

Statewide, lightning kills an average of 10 people and injures an additional 30 per year. Only rip currents are a more prolific weather-related killer, claiming 20 to 25 lives per year statewide.

Those ages 10-19 are struck more than any other age group, as school is out and children frequently play outside, the weather service said.

The last person to be struck in South Florida was Joseph Guerrero, then 17, who was fishing on the bank of a lake near Lake Worth in August 2010. He has since recovered.

Lightning is expected to flash most afternoons this week across the state, with the weather service predicting a 40-60 percent chance of storms through Friday.

Forecasters stress thunderstorms can shoot lightning up to 10 miles from their cores, even into areas where there might not be rain.

"The common perception is happens only when it's really dark and stormy out," said meteorologist Robert Molleda. "But lighting can travel a pretty good distance from where the rain is falling."

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

4.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Where Lightning Strikes More Than Twice

Jun 21, 2010

Lightning is one of Mother Nature's double-edged swords; it is beautiful to watch as it lights up the sky, but it is dangerous when it hits the ground at a scorching 50,000 degrees F and brings with it a jolt ...

NASA lightning research highlights safety awareness week

Jun 21, 2006

Lightning is four times hotter than the sun. That statement usually gets people's attention. It is also a good reason to be aware of the dangers of lightning, especially as the northern hemisphere is entering ...

New way found of monitoring volcanic ash cloud

Dec 10, 2010

The eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in April this year resulted in a giant ash cloud, which – at one point covering most of Europe – brought international aviation to a temporary standstill, ...

Cassini Sees Lightening on Saturn

Apr 14, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured images of lightning on Saturn. The images have allowed scientists to create the first movie showing lightning flashing on another planet.

Recommended for you

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Apr 16, 2014

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world's big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is ...

Japan stem cell body splashes cash on luxury furniture

Apr 14, 2014

A publicly-funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem cell scientists of faking data, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on designer Italian furniture, reportedly to use up ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PS3
1 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2011
cuz women be at home cooking like good women!

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...