Places You’re Most Likely to Be Struck by Lightning in the U.S.

From Colorado to North Carolina, be careful when enjoying the outdoors in these states

When you think of summer, you probably imagine the sunny days you’ll spend outside from sunrise to sunset and overlook the chance of storms until they’re looming overhead. You might think that people don’t actually get struck by lightning, so why worry about it, but you should take a closer look.

Though you may not think you can actually get struck by lightning, it happens all the time. An average of 49 people die each year after being struck, according to the National Weather Service, and for every one death there are nine other people who have varying degrees of injury as a result of being struck, many of those injuries turn into lifelong disabilities.

A big problem is that despite warnings, people think it won’t happen to them. According to the National Weather Service, though, the odds you will be struck by lightning in your lifetime are one in 12,000, if you live to be 80 years old. For those that love spending time outside, the likelihood of being struck is even higher, as most people are injured or killed by lightning while enjoying outdoor activities.

The bottom line is that it can happen to anyone. In honor of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, we compiled data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), Spatial Hazard Events and Losses Database for the United States (SHELDUS) and the American Meteorological Society in order to pinpoint some of the most dangerous spots in the U.S. Take a look at our list and remember, “when thunder roars, go indoors.”

#10 Tennessee

The state of Tennessee sees an average of 544,648 lightning strikes each year and according to the Spatial Hazard Events and Losses Database for the United States (SHELDUS), the major damage, injury and morality rates are concentrated in and around cities. With 140 lightning deaths since 1959, Tennessee is one of the most deadly states when it comes to lightning.

#9 Colorado

This western state experiences an average of 517,016 strikes a year and, since 1959, has had 143 lightning deaths, the most of any state in the west according to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Some experts have suggested that the high rates of injury and death in Colorado might be linked with people spending more time enjoying outdoor recreation.

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